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Testing the feasibility of banning energy drink sales to children to protect their heart health

Dr Gina Trapp, Institution: University of Western Australia

2021 Vanguard Grant  

Years funded: 2022-2023  

Energy drinks (e.g. Red Bull™, V™), are highly caffeinated beverages linked to heart palpitations, hypertension, cardiac arrest and even sudden death. Community concern and evidence of health risks have led several countries to ban the sale of energy drinks to children, however Australian governments have not yet enforced age-specific restrictions and no research has investigated the feasibility, effectiveness, and business outcomes of such a policy.

Dr Gina Trapp's innovative mixed-methods study is the first globally to trial and evaluate a ban on the sale of energy drinks to children. Designed in collaboration with the community, an entire regional town will be used as an experimental setting, allowing for a uniform ban on the sale of energy drinks to children to be applied by all retailers. The findings will provide direct evidence to inform government’s considerations towards regulatory solutions. This work is likely to shift energy drinks-related norms and consumption, and ultimately lead to improved cardiovascular health and wellbeing in children at the population-level.

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