Pediatrics Articles

Caffeine and Children

by Randall Neustaedter OMD

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In case parents need more fuel for their argument against kids consuming caffeine, a recent study investigated the negative effects of caffeinated sugar-sweetened beverages in children. Other studies have demonstrated that 70-80 percent of high-school aged adolescents consume caffeine on a daily basis. In this study, children aged 10 – 12 (grades 5 – 7) were asked about their intake of caffeine in energy drinks and colas. Their level of intake was correlated with common symptoms. Those included headaches, stomachaches, sleep problems, and lack of appetite.

Invariably, children who consumed more cola or energy drinks had a higher incidence of these common symptoms than children who did not consume caffeine. This association was true even for children who consumed less than one caffeinated drink per day. Additionally, children who drank energy drinks had a higher likelihood of developing symptoms compared to those who drank cola. This confirms that the negative effects have a relationship to the caffeine dose and not the amount of sugar consumed.

Parents should continue to limit caffeine intake in children, and educate them about the increased likelihood of developing these symptoms if they use caffeinated energy or soft drinks. If children suffer from headaches, stomachaches, sleep disturbance, or poor appetite, then parents may discover a relationship between these symptoms and their children’s consumption of caffeine.

Reference                                                                                                                                                     

Kristjansson AL, Sigfusdottir ID, et al. Caffeinated sugar-sweetened beverages and common physical complaints in Icelandic children aged 10-12 years. Preventive Medicine. 2014, 58:40-44.

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