Sports drinks are aggressively marketed to teenagers to replenish fluids and/or electrolytes. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, typical adolescent physical activity does not require sports drink rehydration. Given US obesity rates and that sugar-sweetened sports drinks add superfluous calories to the diet, it is important to assess adolescent sports drink consumption and changes over time.


Researchers in the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey and 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey collected nationally representative samples of US high school students about sports drink consumption. Respondent characteristics and health behaviors were examined relative to sports drink consumption by using multivariable survey logistic regression. χ2 tests were used to compare the 2 samples and examine changes over time.


The 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey and 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Survey had national samples of 15 624 and 11 458 respondents, respectively. Sports drink consumption in the previous week increased from 56% (2010) to 57.6% (2015; P = .0002). However, comparisons of daily sports drink consumption revealed reductions for all age groups, sexes, race and/or ethnicity categories, and levels of physical activity. The greatest reductions were for non-Hispanic African Americans and for children with overweight. Daily sports drink consumption did not decrease for children with obesity and increased for children who watched >2 hours per day of television. In 2015, boys, non-Hispanic African Americans, Hispanics, and tobacco users exhibited higher odds of consuming sports drinks daily.


Although daily consumption of sports drinks has decreased overall, sugar-sweetened sports drinks remain popular, with the majority of high school students drinking them at least weekly. Of concern, daily consumption increased among teenagers watching television >2 hours per day. Pediatricians should counsel adolescents about the American Academy of Pediatrics’ recommendations regarding sports drinks.

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