Parent Pushes Energy Drink Ban
Prince George, B.C. – Even though energy and sports drinks aren’t available at Prince George elementary schools, one parent says that doesn’t go far enough.
Prince George District Parent Advisory Council member Dennis Fudge would like to see the drinks banned from all schools period.
“Unfortunately there are a handful of parents that give this to kids to take to school and to drink as a snack.”
For example, Gatorade.
“It’s popular and for some reason parents think that to give kids Gatorade, that’s going to give them a boost of energy and help them to stay awake in class,” he says. “But Gatorade is designed for athletes who do strenuous exercise.”
Fudge says Gatorade not only has 80 calories per 12 ounce drink, but is loaded with sugar which can lead to tooth decay.
“One of the biggest concerns with the energy drinks is teeth decay. Two things that cause teeth decay are sugar and ph. A lot of these energy drinks are even lower ph than Coca-Cola and higher in sugar.”
He says other drinks are a concern as well, including Powerade, Monster, Rockstar, and RedBull.
Fudge says Rockstar for example contains not only high levels of caffeine (even adults are advised not to drink more than one can a day), but also other potentially harmful ingredients like Ginkgo Biloba.
“This herb is said to fight mental fatigue and improve memory,” he says. “Yet the research regarding these claims is conflicting. A new National Toxicology Program study links ginkgo extract to thyroid and liver cancers in mice.”
But even if the School Board won’t ban parents from sending these drinks to school, he hopes to at least raise awareness about the issue.
“I’d like them to act but I’d like to at least raise the awareness. Some parents don’t even realize that these are adult drinks that shouldn’t be given to kids.”
Prince George School Board Chair Tony Cable agrees the above drinks are bad for kids, but says banning them from all schools would be difficult to enforce.
“You get into the issue of are your going to check every students lunch when they bring it to school? And where do you draw the line? Do you ban Powerade, Coca-Cola, Sprite? Do you ban chocolate bars and chips?” he asks. “There are so many things that could be of a concern, you just have to hope parents are doing the best they can and making the best choices they can for their kids.”