The UK government is moving to ban the sale of energy drinks to children, as concerns continue to grow over the health impacts of the highly caffeinated sugar drinks.

The UK will today begin a consultation process which will determine whether the ban would apply from under the age of 16 or 18.

The ban is mainly justified by the high level of caffeine in the drinks, which some studies have found to be linked to health problems in children, including hyperactivity and sleep issues,as well as head and stomach aches.

These drinks contain much higher levels of both caffeine and sugar than regular caffeinated and sweet soft drinks - and, in the UK, they are often sold at cheaper prices.

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According to UK government figures cited by the Guardian, sugared energy drinks have 60 per cent more calories and 65 per cent more sugar than regular soft drinks.

Statistics show that, in the UK, two thirds of children aged 10 to 17 and a quarter of children aged six to nine regularly consume energy drinks.

The ban, if approved, will apply to energy drinks containing more than 150mg of caffeine per litre.

"It's a question not of whether we do it, but how," a government source told the Guardian.

"There is no evidence that energy drinks have any nutritional value or place in the diet of children and young people. That's why we're pleased to see the government take action on this and other measures to tackle childhood obesity and improve children's health," Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health, told the UK newspaper.