Ban kids from buying energy drinks - anti-sugar campaigners

Anti-sugar campaigners say we should follow the UK's lead in looking to ban children from buying energy drinks.

One campaigner told Newshub they could be as harmful as cigarettes, but the Government is ruling out such action - for now.

They're marketed as if they're the difference between winning and losing - and while sports drinks contain good things like electrolytes, one of their key ingredients isn't so beneficial.

"They are just a sugary delivery device," says Dr Gerhard Sundborn. "They're the same as the other drinks."

There are 60 grams of sugar in a bottle of Gatorade - about 15 teaspoons of sugar, and well above the recommended maximum daily dose.

"It's five days of sugar for a child," says Dr Sundborn, who is part of anti-sugar group Fighting Sugar in Soft Drinks (FIZZ).

The All Blacks - who are sponsored by Gatorade - and other sporting celebrities have a lot of pull for young children. To see them promoting such products make them more acceptable to young people and children.

The UK government wants to ban under-16s from buying energy drinks in the hopes of solving its own obesity crisis.

You'd have to show your ID and go through the same hoops as if you were buying cigarettes, which Dr Sundborn says isn't a bad idea.

"When you think about type two diabetes and cardiovascular disease, heart disease, those are all consequences of too much sugar."

Health Minister David Clark says there's no doubt we need to tackle obesity, but he wants to see what works overseas and evidence that obesity rates are actually falling before rushing to follow the UK's approach.

The Minister says he'll work with the industry to reduce sugar levels in processed food and drink and develop a better labelling system.