And that isn’t all parents have to worry about. While they’re playing those games, children are also being fed subliminal messages which can contribute even more to them being unhealthy and making poor nutritional choices.
A recent example of this was when Gatorade agreed to cough up $300,000 and to stop making “disparaging remarks about water,” after being taken to court by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra.
The sports drink giant released a game called Bolt! which was available in 2012, 2013 and then again for a brief time in 2017, in which players would give Olympic runner Usain Bolt Gatorade to increase his fuel levels. If, on the other hand, the player gave the runner water, his fuel level would decrease, leaving him with reduced power to perform.
Even worse, the game directly stated, “Keep your performance level high and avoid water.” [Emphasis added]
To direct a message like this at children with a limited understanding of healthy nutritional choices was unconscionable.
As Attorney General Becerra noted, “Making misleading statements is a violation of California law. But making misleading statements aimed at our children is beyond unlawful, it's morally wrong and a betrayal of trust.”
Gatorade was quick to deal with the matter – it was settled out of court in only one day – but there was no admission of guilt forthcoming.
An emailed statement from company spokesperson Katie Vidaillet stated:
The mobile game, Bolt!, was designed to highlight the unique role and benefits of sports drinks in supporting athletic performance. We recognize the role water plays in overall health and wellness, and offer our consumers great options.
The company has also agreed not to produce any other games like Bolt! that might lead kids to believe that water would interfere with athletic performance while sports drinks would enhance it. Bolt! is no longer available to play.
Gatorade has also half-heartedly agreed to make “reasonable efforts” to abide by parent company PepsiCo’s rules regarding responsible advertising for children.
Interestingly, the Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend sports drinks for children at all – unless they are engaged in “prolonged, continuous vigorous activity for more than one hour in hot weather conditions.” They recommend water as “the best source of hydration for ordinary children engaging in routine physical activity.” (Related: Sports drinks are loaded with liquid sugars.)
Let’s face it: Just getting our kids involved in “routine physical activity” is enough of a challenge. How many of us can claim that our children partake in such vigorous activity that they need a sports drink rather than water?
And, even if they are taking part in really vigorous activity – in which case, well done! – there are better options than sugar-laden, nutritionally vacant sports drinks.
As Mike Adams, the found/editor of Natural News noted back in 2011, Mother Nature has provided us with a perfectly balanced, thirst-quenching drink called rooibos, which provides amazing hydration, while also supplying multiple phytonutrients, including spalathin, Quercetin and Luteolin. It also contains Orientin, Isoorientin, Vitexin, Isovitexin, Chrysoeriol, Catechin, Isoqurecetin, Hyperoside and Rutin. (Related: Discover the amazing benefits of these and other nutrients at Nutrients.news.)
So, for all those families out there doing their best to be healthy and active, water is always your best option for hydration – no matter what messages advertisers are trying to drill into your kids’ heads. And if you want to boost performance a little more, try iced rooibos – it’s delicious with a touch of stevia!