Jamie Oliver is determined to deter children from buying energy drinks
He’s taken on the Turkey Twizzlers in the battle to make children’s lunches more healthy and now Jamie Oliver is tackling another health risk to kids – energy drinks.
The TV chef is calling on the Government to ban the selling of energy drinks to children, because of a potential correlation between consumption and poor performance at school.
As part of his ongoing campaign to combat diet related disease, Jamie is now backing calls by the National Education Union (the largest education union) to introduce an age limit of 16 on all sales.
The dad-of-five believes the Government should stick to the guidance that already exists on many cans stating that energy drinks are not suitable for children.
“If the energy drink industry is literally telling us their products are ‘not recommended for children’ on the cans, why can kids as young as 10 buy them whenever they want?” he said.
“This consumption is compromising our kids, and our teachers, too – we have to do something about it. We urgently need the government to step up and put age restrictions on the sale of energy drinks to all under 16s.”
In an episode of Friday Night Feast, set to air tonight at 8pm, Jamie and Jimmy Doherty explore how energy drinks impact kids.
They speak to a number of teachers, who describe the strain of teaching pupils who are under the influence of energy drinks, with many detailing the devising of back-up lesson plans, depending on whether the kids are on a ‘high’ or ‘crashing’.
According to a study by the European Food Safety Authority, as many as 69 per cent of teenagers and 24 per cent of children under 10 consume energy drinks in the UK.
But there is growing evidence to suggest that energy drinks can have a detrimental effect on children’s health.
According to some reports certain energy drinks contain up to 12 teaspoons of sugar – more than twice the maximum daily intake for adults! Many brands of energy drinks contain 160mg of caffeine per 500ml, but a 10-year-old should not consume more than 99mg per day.
Speaking about the initiative Kevin Courtney, Joint General Secretary of the National Education Union, said protecting children’s health should be put ahead of profits.
“Schools do all they can to provide an environment conducive to learning, but they can’t control what’s on sale beyond the school gates. If the Government is serious about protecting children, it needs to put their interests before the profits of the energy drinks industry and ban the sale of these harmful products to under 16s,” he said.
Now Jamie Oliver is urging the public to help make age restrictions on energy drinks a reality by tweeting the Secretary of State for Health @Jeremy_Hunt, or their local MP using the hashtag #NotForChildren.
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