Middle-school children who consume heavily sweetened energy drinks are 66 percent more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms, reveals a new study.
The finding has implications for school success and lends support to existing recommendations to limit the amount of sweetened beverages school children drink.
The authors also recommend that children avoid energy drinks, which in addition to high levels of sugar also often contain caffeine.
"Our results support the American Academy of Paediatrics recommendation that parents should limit consumption of sweetened beverages and that children should not consume any energy drinks," said lead researcher Jeannette Ickovics from the Yale School of Public Health.
The research team surveyed 1,649 middle-school students randomly selected from a single urban school district in Connecticut.
The researchers found that boys were more likely to consume energy drinks than girls. The average age of the student participants was 12.4 years.
"As the total number of sugar-sweetened beverages increased, so too did risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms among our middle-school students. Importantly, it appears that energy drinks are driving this association," Ickovics explained.
In addition to hyperactivity and inattention, heavily sugared beverages also impact childhood obesity, Ickovics noted.
The study appeared in the journal Academic Paediatrics.