A research by the National Center for Health Statistics found out that caffeine consumption for children and adolescents have increased while soda intake of the same demographic has dwindled.
Researchers noted that between 1999 and 2000, 73 percent of those between two to 22 years old have consumed caffeine on any given day. Similarly, 63 percent of children age two to five have also been exposed to caffeine in some way.
Things have changed after a decade. Based on the survey data that are sampled to ensure that it will represent the populace all over the country, the researchers reported that soda intake have decreased by 24 percent in 2009-2010 while caffeine intake from coffee increased by 14 percent in 2009-2010 compared to a decade ago. Energy drinks, on the other hand, accounted for 6 percent of caffeine intake in 2009-2010.
Furthermore, the report also revealed that in 2009-2010, tea is the highest contributor of caffeine for children age two to five. Across all age groups, teens who are 12 to 16 years old accounted for the greatest caffeine consumption from sodas, although the number was down by 19 percent.
Caffeine is considered "safe" by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), however, the director of Nutrition and Health Research Laboratory at the University of Buffalo Jennifer Temple cautioned against it. "The relative lack of empirical data on children and adolescents, we just don't know whether or not that's true at that age or what the impact is over the long term of higher caffeine consumption," Temple said to USA Today.
Excessive caffeine consumption can lead to anxiety, hyperactivity, increased heart rate, and blood pressure. However, it also has positive effects such as increasing alertness and reducing fatigue.
The FDA has set a 400-milligram per day limit for healthy adults but it has not set a limit for children. The agency has stated that they will conduct an investigation in May to observe the side effects of caffeine on children. Children have more access to caffeine nowadays in the form of other food products such as gums, nuts, jelly beans, and waffles.
This study was published in the Feb. 9 issue of Pediatrics.