A high proportion of young people, particularly school-age children, still consume energy drinks; therefore, it is important to raise awareness of this issue through various programs, the Parliamentary Secretary of State of the Ministry of Interior said at a press conference in Budapest on Wednesday.
Bence Rétvári said that “it is obvious that there is a fashion for consuming energy drinks,” with some people drinking them just as soft drinks, and some with alcohol- even drinking several cans a day.
Referring to the results of a 2018 survey, he said that 10.5 percent of school-age children have consumed an energy drink, and 18.5 percent drink it on a weekly basis. The consumption of these products increases from grade 9, which is dangerous, he said, because a daily intake of 400 milligrams of caffeine is already harmful to health.
The Secretary of State mentioned that
the government had taken various measures to combat the over-consumption of energy drinks, such as banning the sale of this type of product in school canteens.
He pointed out that several effective campaigns had been launched to raise awareness of the dangers of energy drinks, but that the consumption of energy drinks among pupils was still higher than ideal.
Cecília Müller, Chief Medical Officer of Hungary, said that since 2011, 450 reports of sickness related to energy drink consumption had been received by the toxicology service. Of these, 23 percent were reported at school, 40 percent at home, and two thirds of those involved were under 18.
Nóra Király, founder of the Association for Young Families, said that
feedback from parents indicated that they saw “unlimited access” to energy drinks as a serious problem.
Over the summer, several Hungarian doctors drew attention to the harmful effects of energy drinks among young people under 18. They are highly sensitive to energy drinks and caffeine, which can lead to problems such as heart rhythm disturbances and blood pressure problems.
“The opinion of pediatricians is that the consumption of energy drinks should be banned for the under-18s, because energy drink consumption is becoming increasingly fashionable, even among primary school children, and it is almost an epidemic among 14-18 year olds,” said pediatrician Tamás Bense, in an interview with Hungarian news site hirado.hu.
According to an earlier study by the European Food Safety Authority covering 16 countries, 68 percent of 10-18 year olds and 18 percent of children under 10 years old consume energy drinks, while 30 percent of adults do. Moreover, in 2018, US researchers concluded that you do not need to drink energy drinks regularly to damage your blood vessels. Harmful effects can occur after just one large can.
According to Zsolt Vajda, head of the Department of Toxicology at the Heim Pál National Pediatric Institute, although energy drinks are not addictive, they can play a serious role in making people enjoy alcohol at a younger age and consume it more often.
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