The Canadian Beverage Association (CBA) has defended the industry’s record on advertising sports drinks and energy drinks to children, after the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) labelled them “potential risks for the health of children”.
The CPS earlier released a position statement saying that children and parents should be educated about the difference between carbonated energy drinks and sports drinks, adding that neither was an appropriate replacement in terms of hydration for water.
Frequent consumption of carbonated energy drinks “may be a marker for increased risk of substance use and abuse and other health-compromising behaviours”, the CPS said.
The CBA, which represents Canada’s beverage manufacturers, responded by saying there were adequate safeguards in place to protect consumers against misleading or inappropriate advertising – including children.
Neither carbonated energy drinks nor sports drinks were intended as a substitute for water, it said.
The CBA statement read: “The CBA and its members have committed to stringent marketing standards that prevent the marketing of beverages targeted to children under the age of 12 other than 100% juice, milk and water.
“Sports drinks are functional beverages that help people hydrate before, during and after vigorous exercise. They can provide nutrients and quickly replenish electrolytes and carbohydrates lost during physical activity or exposure to high temperatures. They are not intended to replace water as a source of hydration but are complimentary to the water that many athletes drink as well.
“Energy drinks, unlike sports drinks, are functional beverages formulated for people looking for a product that provides additional mental and physical stimulation for a short period of time… A strict regulatory environment is already in place in Canada regarding the manufacturing and sales of these beverages.”
The CBA also pointed out that “all major energy drink distributors in Canada” adhere to the Energy Drink Marketing Code, which prevents manufacturers from marketing energy drinks as a form of hydration.
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