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关爱儿童,英格兰禁能量饮料,韩国禁咖啡 England and South Korea are cracking down on caffeine for kids

中国日报网 2018-08-31 15:04



Many adults rely on the added jolt of caffeine to get them through the day. But that’s the last thing kids need, according to the governments of England and South Korea.


 England woke up to the news that the government is preparing to ban the sale of energy drinks like Red Bull to children amid growing concerns about the negative health impacts of the high-caffeine, high-sugar drinks.


The proposed ban only applies to England, but Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland can all follow suit if their administrations wish. In March, several major supermarket chains announced that they would ban the sale of energy drinks to children under 16.


Meanwhile, South Korea announced plans to ban the sale of coffee in schools by September 14. Korean authorities justified the ban by citing reports of children experiencing dizziness, heart palpitations, trouble sleeping, and nervousness after consuming caffeine.




The principal justification for the ban is the high level of caffeine in the energy drinks, which has been linked to a string of health problems for children, including head and stomach aches, as well as hyperactivity and sleep problems.


A 250ml can of Red Bull contains about 80mg of caffeine, roughly the same as a similarly sized cup of coffee, but three times the level of Coca-Cola. Monster Energy, which is often sold in larger cans of 500ml, contains 160mg of caffeine.


Energy drinks often also have higher levels of sugar than soft drinks. According to government figures, sugared energy drinks have 60% more calories and 65% more sugar than normal soft drinks and sugar is one of the largest causes of obesity.


The teachers’ union NASUWT called last year for the sale of the drinks to under-16s to be banned by all retailers. Its national official for education, Darren Northcott, described the beverages as “legal highs” that helped to fuel bad behavior in schools.


Caffeine is the most commonly used psychoactive substance in the world. It is classified as a stimulant drug for its ability to arouse the central nervous system. Research has identified a range of possible health benefits and risks for adults. But the consumption of caffeine is generally not recommended for kids. The American Academy of Pediatrics, for example, recommends that children avoid high-caffeine energy drinks altogether, stating that “caffeine and other stimulant substances contained in energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents.”


In both England and South Korea, the bans are part of a wider campaign to encourage healthier eating habits, especially among children. South Korean officials have implemented a strategy to deal with rising obesity rates among students, including imposing restrictions on children’s access to energy drinks. 


The English ban on energy drink sales to children is also part of the government’s childhood obesity strategy, since energy drinks, in addition to being high in caffeine, often contain a lot of sugar. Public officials have announced they are conducting a consultation to determine whether the purchasing restrictions will apply at the age of 16 or 18.


The bans come in response to the reality that, despite strict labeling rules and public awareness campaigns, children are still consuming highly-caffeinated and sugary drinks.


Under current labeling rules in the UK, for example, any drink that contains over 150 milligrams of caffeine per liter (other than tea or coffee) is required to have a warning label stating that the drink isn’t recommended for children, or for pregnant or breastfeeding women. But, according to the government, more than two thirds of UK children aged 10-17, and nearly a quarter of those aged six to nine, are energy drink consumers.


In addition to limiting kids’ access to caffeine and energy drinks, the South Korean government has also banned TV commercials for fast food, sugary snacks and high-caffeine beverages during times when most children’s programs air. But after a drastic decline in early 2016, energy-drink sales in the country continued to rise in 2017.


South Koreans drink an average of 181 cups of coffee a year, by far the most in Asia, according to market research firm Euromonitor. That is more than the 151 consumed per person in the UK but less than the average of 266 cups in the US.


Many students consume coffee or energy drinks to stay alert to study in an effort to excel in South Korea’s highly competitive and demanding education system.