Gatorade fined $300,000 for telling kids to "avoid water"

The State of California fined Gatorade for making a video game for kids that says, "keep your performance level high and avoid water." In the game, called Bolt!, players give Gatorade to Olympic runner Usain Bolt to increase his fuel level. If you give Bolt water, the fuel level goes down. Now they have to pay $300,000 as part of a settlement with the state.

From Oregon Live:

"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," [California Attorney General Xavier Becerra] said in a statement.

Gatorade agreed to the settlement but has not admitted wrongdoing.

"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," spokeswoman Katie Vidaillet said in an email.

In addition to agreeing not to disparage water, Gatorade agreed not to make Bolt! or any other games that give the impression that water will hinder athletic performance or that athletes only consumer Gatorade and do not drink water. Gatorade also agreed to use "reasonable efforts" to abide by parent company PepsiCo's policy on responsible advertising to children and to disclose its contracts with endorsers.

From a 2014 report published by University of California Berkeley's Center for Weight and Health:

The Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend sports drinks as a hydration source for children and adolescents and finds that water is the best source of hydration for ordinary children engaging in routine physical activity (Schneider, 2011).

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