Sports and energy drinks can include anything from sports beverages to vitamin waters to "high-energy" supplement drinks. What they all have in common is added ingredients that say they "do" something extra, whether it's increase energy and alertness, boost nutrition, or even enhance athletic performance. But are they good options for kids?
Evaluating the Choices
Everyone needs to stay hydrated to stay healthy, and you can't go wrong giving kids plain water. But what about kids who play sports? Do they need something extra to avoid dehydration?
Not necessarily. The average young athlete can and should get all the necessary nutrients and hydration by eating healthy foods and drinking plenty of water before, during, and after exercise. During games and competitive events, drinks should be available at all times and regular water breaks should be scheduled about every 15 or 20 minutes. The amount of water needed can vary depending on the child's age, weight, intensity of the activity, and weather conditions.
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