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US: Doctors group backs halt on energy drinks ads to youths

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A US doctors lobby has called for a ban on energy drinks marketing to under-18s over health fears.

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The American Medical Association (AMA) adopted the policy after a vote at its annual meeting yesterday (18 June), warning that drinks containing “excessive amounts of caffeine” could lead to "a host of health problems” in young people. “Banning companies from marketing these products to adolescents is a common sense action that we can take to protect the health of American kids,” AMA board member Alexander Ding said.

The harmful effects could include heart problems, Ding added.

The AMA, which represents 225,000 US doctors, has no decision- making powers but, according to Forbes, has a “bully pulpit on public health issues”. On Friday, shares in Monster Beverage Corp dropped 7% on reports the AMA would support a ban on energy drinks sales to adolescents.

Yesterday, the stock remained about US$3 below Friday's high.

The AMA has debated health issues in the soft drinks sector before: Last year, the industry body gave tentative support to a sugar tax that could be used to fund anti-obesity programmes.


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