UAE - With the UK's announcement on Thursday to ban the sale of energy drinks to young people, doctors in the UAE are also calling for tighter control locally, over the sales of energy drinks to youngsters in the country.

The UK Prime Minister, Theresa May, said the government wants to prevent retailers from selling popular energy drinks, due to their high levels of sugar and caffeine, which officials said is linked to the reasons why the country is among the Western Europe's worst rates when it comes to childhood obesity, as well as other illnesses, behaviour problems and hyperactivity.

"Childhood obesity is one of the greatest health challenges this country faces," said the Prime Minister.

"With thousands of young people regularly consuming energy drinks, often because they are sold at cheaper prices than soft drinks, we will consult on banning the sale of energy drinks to children."

The UAE has too made immense efforts to cut down the consumption of energy drinks, including the recent implementation of the 100 per cent VAT on all energy drinks in the country.

Moreover, some places around the UAE are also based selling energy drinks to people under the age of 16.

The Sharjah Municipality recently banned selling energy drinks to those under the age of 16 and also banned cafeterias and food outlets from mixing energy drinks with other beverages.

Recently, officials from Al Qasimi Hospital in Sharjah and Khalifa Hospital in Ajman revealed that children have fallen ill due to consuming energy drinks.

Between eight to 20 cases of children becoming ill from the consumption of the drinks were reported at Khalifa Hospital.

Moreover, one young boy who was admitted at Al Qasimi Hospital nearly lost his life after mixing an energy drink with a latte.

Officials said the boy's heart couldn't cope with the amount of caffeine in the beverage.

Doctors in the UAE said banning the sales of energy drinks in the country will enhance the health of youngsters and help avoid further cases of children and teenagers falling ill, due to the drinks that are loaded with caffeine, sugar, colouring, preservatives and other chemicals.

Doctors pointed out that energy drinks contain a whopping 60 per cent more calories and 65 per cent more sugar than regular soft drinks.

"Energy drinks should be banned across the country, especially for teenagers, because they are heavily consuming it," Dr Shanavas Khan, Consultant, Interventional Cardiologist, Universal Hospital, toldKhaleej Times.

He said many energy drinks are cheaper than soft drinks, which is why youngsters are still purchasing them despite the 100 per cent added tax.

"The sugar and caffeine content in these drinks are also more than the content in soft drinks and this is causing a stimulant effect, which is also why they're consuming these dangerous drinks regularly."

"These drinks are causing more problems in health, hyperactivity and sleep disorders."

He said energy drinks are also linked to childhood obesity in the country.

"This can later cause a lot of illnesses including diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular diseases and young heart attacks."

Dr Shaimaa Mashal, Specialist, Internal Medicine, Bareen International Hospital, said she has received many cases of youngsters consuming energy drinks, which lead to illnesses and disorders.

"Health organisations across the world have reported that energy drinks are harmful on the public health and can effect mental and physical performance."

"The ingredients in these drinks reach the blood rapidly, increase the stimulation of stress hormone release, which can effect the heart rate, increase the blood pressure, cause gastric upset, sleep disorders and insomnia."

Dr Mashal said the drinks are also responsible for many cases of anxiety disorders that doctors have been receiving.

"It is so dangerous to consume energy drinks - these drinks can lead to many health hazards."

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