Tuesday, June 17th, 2014
Caffeine, whether consumed in sweet coffee drinks, energy drinks, or sodas, can have serious negative health effects on children and young teens, including high blood pressure and risk of heart disease. More from Today.com:
Even low doses of caffeine — equivalent to what you’d find in a half to a full can of soda or a cup of coffee — had an effect on kids’ blood pressure and heart rates.
And, interestingly, researchers found that the stimulant had more potent heart and blood pressure effects in boys than girls after puberty. The results were published Monday in the journal Pediatrics.
It’s those kinds of cardiovascular effects that most worry experts, with some going so far as to say that they think caffeinated drinks should be eschewed until children hit their late teens.
“There are lots of things we can’t do because we’re not old enough or mature enough,” said Dr. Kevin Shannon, a professor of pediatric cardiology and director of pediatric arrhythmia at the Mattel Children’s Hospital of the University of California, Los Angeles. “Caffeine should probably be added to that list.”
The new study examined the effects of low doses of caffeine in 52 children aged 8-9 and 49 children aged 15-17. In the younger kids, gender made no difference. But in the older group, the stimulant’s effects were felt more strongly by the boys.
Caffeine slowed heart rates and increased blood pressure in all the children. Though the slowed heart rate might sound counterintuitive, it’s not a new finding, said the study’s lead author Jennifer Temple, an associate professor at the University of Buffalo’s School of Public Health and Health Professions.
At low doses the heart slows down to compensate for rising blood pressure, Temple explained. At higher doses, the heart speeds up.
“This study shows that what we would consider to be a low dose of caffeine — what some might not think twice about giving to an 8-year-old — is having an effect on the cardiovascular system,” Temple said. “And right now we don’t have enough data in kids to know what the long term effects of repeated exposure to caffeine would be.”
Image: Frozen coffee drink, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
The good news for parents who are concerned that kids consume too much sugar in the form of soda is that kids are drinking less of those carbonated beverages. The bad news, though, is that coffee drinks and energy drinks–also packed with calories and caffeine–are replacing soda as the top choice for U.S. kids. More from Time.com on a recent study published in the journal Pediatrics:
Add a Comment
…[R]esearchers looked at trends in caffeine intake among people ages 2 to 22 between 1999 to 2010. They found that in 1999, 62 percent of kids and young adults got most of their caffeine from soda. But in 2010, that number dropped significantly to 38 percent.
Energy drinks were not a factor at the beginning of the study, but between 2009 to 2010, they rose to 6 percent of caffeine intake among young people. Coffee also made a jump, from 10 percent of caffeine intake in 1999-2000 to about 24 percent in 2009-2010.
Overall during the time period, researchers found that 73 percent of young people consumed some caffeine on a given day. Even more startling was the fact that 63 percent of kids aged between 2 and 5 consumed caffeine.
The researchers speculated that increased awareness over the link between soda and obesity could be one of the reasons fewer young people are guzzling sodas. But any increase in energy drink consumption among youth is concerning, given that high levels of caffeine can have a greater impact on smaller bodies. The American Academy of Pediatrics says energy drinks “should never be consumed by children or adolescents.”
Thursday, July 19th, 2012
Women who consume modest amounts of coffee while pregnant are not putting their children at risk for later hyperactivity issues due to the beverage’s caffeine content, a new Australian study has found. The Huffington Post reports:
Participants in the study (3,400 mothers) were asked how much coffee they consumed during pregnancy. When their children turned 5 or 6, the same women filled out questionnaires about their kids’ behavioral health -– teachers completed an identical survey. The authors concluded that mothers who drank caffeine during pregnancy did not put their kids at risk for “hyperactivity/inattention problems, emotional symptoms, conduct problems, peer relationship problems, overall problem behavior, or suboptimal prosocial behavior.”
This study follows a study published in the journal Pediatrics last April, which concluded that coffee intake during pregnancy does not lead to colic in infants.
Image: Pregnant woman drinking coffee, via Shutterstock
Add a Comment
Friday, April 6th, 2012
A new study published in the journal Pediatrics has found that women who consume high quantities of caffeine during pregnancy and early in their children’s infancy do not put their babies at higher risk of suffering from colic or sleep disturbance.
The study followed mothers of babies born in Pelotas, Brazil in 2004. NPR reports on the findings:
“When we planned the study, we worked with the hypothesis of association between heavy maternal consumption of caffeine and higher infant awakenings at night,” Marlos Rodrigues Domingues, a researcher at Brazil’s Universidade Federal de Pelotas and co-author of the study, tells Shots in an email.
It’s not clear why the infants’ sleep wasn’t affected. The babies might have developed a tolerance to caffeine while in the womb, Rodrigues says. But other studies have found no caffeine metabolites in the urine of babies whose mothers drink coffee, suggesting that the babies don’t absorb caffeine the way older children and adults do.
Image: Cup of coffee, via Shutterstock.
Add a Comment