Most parents are naturally fearful about the potential risks of their children being tempted by drugs. Fortunately there are drug awareness campaigns and lots of support and guidance that help prevent this from happening. However the risk is still there and sadly some kids do become affected. However recently there has been some evidence to support the fact that caffeine is now becoming the drug of choice for some kids. This may seem incredulous, but most people don’t realize that caffeine can quickly become addictive as it’s a powerful stimulant. It is well known, for example, that many students depend on coffee to keep them awake whilst studying for exams and midterm papers.
Why is their so much concern about coffee drinking in kids?
Caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the central nervous system producing temporary alertness. Too much caffeine in adults has been linked to increased heart rate and blood pressure, difficulty sleeping and concentrating, and upset stomachs. Additionally many alarming symptoms have been noted when caffeine is withdrawn. Dieticians have concluded that these symptoms can occur quickly with children. It has been reported that kids regularly visit coffee outlets and sip coffee during classes. Interestingly, two schools in Massachusetts were so concerned by this habit, that they made the decision to ban coffee in their schools. They took this extreme measure as they felt that the coffee was a ‘distraction in class and led to them ‘crashing out’ later on in the day.
Harmful effects of Caffeine
The question about whether or not our kids are having too much caffeine has never been more of a concern than it is now. This is due in part, to the rise in popularity of foods and drinks containing added caffeine. In a recent study by the American Academy of Pediatrics has determined that almost 75% of kids today are addicted to caffeine. They further suggest that caffeine has no significant nutritional value to children and should be avoided.
Why is this so worrying?
The concern has arisen in light of the fact that caffeine has now been added to energy drinks. In the UK for example, advertisers have been banned from promoting, or appearing to promote sales of energy drinks to children under the age of 16 years. Furthermore, age restrictions have been placed on their products stating that nobody under the age of 16 years can purchase them. Additionally, the caffeine content in energy drinks can be up to three times the amount of regular coffee. Presently in the US the |FDA states that they are not as yet, going to follow suit with age restrictions. However, they have expressed concerns over recent studies concerning Kids caffeine intake. They are currently considering how to tackle this issue.
Overall, it seems the best advice is to encourage children not to drink energy drinks as it is potentially hazardous to their health. This was highlighted by the school’s decision to ban coffee and energy drinks entirely.