An editorial has outlined the grave risk to children's health from the consumption of highly-caffeinated energy drinks.
It argues that the growing availability of energy drinks is a potential danger to the health of young people who are vulnerable to the effects of caffeine.
"It is time for the federal minister of health to be awakened and alerted to concerns about energy drinks sold to children," the Globe and Mail quoted the editorial, written by Noni MacDonald, section editor of population and public health at CMAJ, Matthew Stanbrook, CMAJ's deputy editor, scientific and Paul Hébert, editor-in-chief of the journal, as stating.
Strict regulations are required if business practices and consumer trends are not curbed."
Red Bull is one high-profile example of a caffeinated energy drink. But the market for these products has exploded in recent years, meaning there is a growing number of products available that deliver high levels of caffeine to consumers.
"At a minimum, all products with caffeine levels exceeding 100 milligrams should have labels and advertising that carry warnings comparable to those required for caffeine tablets. To minimize use by children, there should be no advertising targeting this vulnerable group," the editorial stated.
Caffeine tablets carry warnings they should not be taken by children and that excessive amounts of caffeine can lead to irritability, loss of sleep, nervousness, and even rapid heart rate.
The study has been published online by the Canadian Medical Association Journal.