Significant Health Risks to Children and Adolescents Associated with Energy Drinks, Warns HMC

Doha, Qatar: Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) has issued a stark warning regarding the potential adverse effects of energy drinks on the health of children and teenagers.

In a comprehensive social media campaign, HMC has outlined five significant hazards associated with energy drinks, urging youngsters to abstain from their consumption. HMC emphasized that energy drinks can disrupt the heart's electrical activity, increasing the risk of heart and artery diseases in children and adolescents. Additionally, these beverages can negatively impact the nervous system, leading to sleep disturbances, heightened stress levels, and increased anxiety. Furthermore, they pose a heightened risk of obesity, early onset of insulin resistance, and severe dental damage due to their high acid content.

HMC also highlighted that energy drinks can impair memory and hinder the ability to concentrate.

Energy drinks typically contain elevated levels of stimulants, primarily caffeine, in addition to sugar and often supplements such as vitamins or carnitine. In a previous statement, HMC cautioned that these drinks create a false sense of energy, deceiving the body into staying awake for longer periods. Excessive consumption of these beverages can have detrimental health consequences.

Data and analytics company StrategyHelix has projected that the energy drinks market in Qatar is set to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.7% between 2021 and 2027.

Nevertheless, authorities have implemented several measures to regulate energy drink consumption within the country. These efforts aim to reduce energy drink use, especially among the youth, and promote the consumption of healthier, natural alternatives.

The Ministry of Finance introduced the Selective Tax law in 2019, imposing taxes on goods that are detrimental to health. This law includes a 100% tax on tobacco and its products, as well as energy drinks, along with a 50% tax on sugary beverages.

Since 2016, the Ministry of Economy and Commerce has enforced a ban on the sale of energy drinks in the market unless prominent cautionary labels are displayed on the packaging. These labels must be clearly presented in both English and Arabic against a white background.