Sports Drinks and Kids – Good or Bad?

The Soft Drink industry, and in particular, Sports Drinks Market is a Booming Industry, Multi-Billion Dollars in Fact.  With so many choices among so many categories, how do you know what is right for your child?  Here is a hint …H2O, that is right water, when in doubt, water is still the most important beverage any person can consume.  The next time you find your self rushing between activities at a convenience store, think about all the bright colors and consider for a second, a clear bottle with clear liquid as water is often the best choice.

Now back to the Sports Drinks.  There are several categories of Sports Drinks including but not limited to, Sports Drinks, Energy Drinks, Recovery Drinks, etc.  The most popular among kids and parents are Energy Drinks and Sports Drinks.

Energy Drinks often contain vitamins and other supplements offering a boost in performance, there are several on the market that actually warn against using with young children.   Sports Drinks offer hydration and electrolyte replacement and offer extended performance, quick recovery and protection against dehydration, further, they now come in lower calorie varieties as well.  Many contain sugar, caffeine and artificial coloring…which are considered by many nutritionists to be Toxic!

As a competitive Athlete and Marathon Runner, I have read and experienced over the years that water is still the best choice and that electrolyte replacement is important when your activity is longer that 1 hour in duration.  I have personally used lots of Sports Drinks and Energy Drinks over the years and still do to when exercise exceeds and hour but my primary staple continues to be water.

As a parent, you have a lot of choices and there is a lot of in your face marketing.  As a coach my recommendation is that moderation is key.  Is a sports drink bad? Not necessarily.  If your child is going from one sporting event to another and it is a hot day with lots of perspiration, a sports drink may not be a bad choice, but with a well-balanced diet, water is a great choice too because a healthy diet will provide the electrolytes and nutrients necessary to fuel your young athlete.  Mixing in a sports drink throughout the day among lots of water is what I would consider moderation.  Sending your child to the sideline with a 32 ounce high sugar sports drink for a 40 minute game with plenty of subs in my opinion is not the best choice.  Besides, if your skip the sports drink during, you wont have to feel as guilty about the post game ice cream.

Here are a few articles that you may find to be helpful should you be interested in learning more about what the expert’s say…

*****I have no affiliation with any of the references but have found the articles to be useful, thanks for visiting my blog.

Youth Sports and Obesity

I wanted to share this article that I came across on  I use the app on my phone to track my eating and exercise and find the site to be very useful and informative.  I Certainly will take no credit for this article as I am simply copying and pasting, nonetheless it is an intersting read by Stewart Flaherty.

May 24, 2010 | By Stewart Flaherty Stewart Flaherty is in his early years as a writer. With a sport psychology master’s degree and a successful coaching background, Flaherty has experience in improving performance in a number of areas. He has studied sport psychology, nutrition and coaching to a degree level.

Youth Sports & Obesity
Photo Credit youth soccer image by Steve Brase from

Obesity is an increasing epidemic in the United States, and throughout the world. In 2010 the Centers for Disease and Prevention said that childhood obesity in the United States had more than tripled in the previous 30 years. A leading cause of youth obesity is inactivity, this gives youth sports an important role to play in the fight against obesity.


Youth sports can be played on a recreational or more competitive basis. In relation to obesity the level of competition is not important. The primary factor is that youth sports encourage regular physical activity on an enjoyable environment. Sports, such as soccer that require a high amount of running and aerobic exercise, may be most effective to help young players lose weight.


Researchers from Colorado State University reported that lack of physical activity is a contributor to childhood obesity. Participation in youth sports will be a crucial factor for any child to increase physical activity level, and subsequently reduce their risk of obesity. The Washington Post reported on the damage done by a decrease in youth sports. The article stated that cuts to youth sports were directly correlated to an increase in obesity and behavioral problems in young people.


The increased physical activity of youth sports participation will have a positive impact on obesity risk. The World Health Organization cited increased physical activity as a key factor in fighting obesity. The reach of youth sports can go beyond purely an activity level. Researchers Caroline Payne and Kate Fogarty from Florida University reported research finding children who participated in youth sports to be more nutrition-conscious.


Obesity is a disease that increases the risk of young people to a number of dangerous health conditions. The World Health Organization states that obesity is associated with respiratory difficulties and musculoskeletal problems. Obesity can also leave young people at increased risk of heart disease and certain forms of cancer in later life.

Expert Insight

Dr. Barbara Moore researched the impact of increased physical activity and youth sports participation on childhood obesity. Moore found that in overweight children and teens increased physical activity on three to seven days per week leads to a reduction in body fat. The study recommended that school-age youth participate in physical activity for 60 minutes. The physical activity should be moderate to vigorous intensity. It is also important that the physical activity is enjoyable and developmentally appropriate. Participating in a favorite sport is an easy way to ensure this.


Article reviewed by Allen Cone Last updated on: May 24, 2010

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