Celebrity chef and school food campaigner Jamie Oliver has called for the government to ban the sale of energy drinks to children.
In his latest Food Fight for Jamie and Jimmy’s Friday Night Feast, Oliver and co-presenter Jimmy Doherty visited Harris Academy in South Norwood to discover how much energy drinks are affecting children’s physical and mental wellbeing and its impact on learning.
They found that many children rely on energy drinks to stimulate them throughout the day and that teachers are adapting their lessons to the highs and lows experienced as a result of the caffeine-rich drinks.
Research shows that 13% of 10-18-year olds are consuming 1litre of energy drinks in one sitting and the programme surveyed 100 schools nationwide and found that 85% have banned or actively discourage energy drinks, yet children are still bringing them into school.
“Some schools are fighting their own battle against these drinks, by banning them on the premises. But schools can only do so much on their own. We need the government to legally age-restrict the sale of energy drinks, in the same way that scratch cards are only sold to over-16s,” said Laura Matthews, head of nutrition at the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution.
The programme urged the public to tweet the health secretary Jeremy Hunt @Jeremy_Hunt to tell him to ban the sale of energy drinks to children under 16, using the hashtag #NotForChildren.
“The key to this is legislation,” said Oliver.
Some retailers are already tackling the consumption of energy drinks by children. Waitrose announced last week that it will ban the sale of energy drinks to children under 16 from 5th March.
Image: David Loftus