Caffeine common for kids, even preschoolers, study shows

Nearly three out of four U.S. children and young adults consume at least some caffeine, mostly from soda, tea and coffee. The rate didn’t budge much over a decade, although soda use declined and energy drinks became an increasingly common source, a government analysis finds.

Nearly three out of four U.S. children and young adults consume at least some caffeine, mostly from soda, tea and coffee.

The rate didn’t budge much over a decade, although soda use declined and energy drinks became an increasingly common source, a government analysis finds.

Though even most preschoolers consume some caffeine-containing products, their average was the amount found in half a can of soda, and overall caffeine intake declined in children up to age 11 during the decade.

The analysis is the first to examine recent national trends in caffeine intake among children and young adults and comes amid a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation into the safety of caffeine-containing foods and drinks, especially for children and teens.

In an online announcement about the investigation, the FDA notes that caffeine is found in a variety of foods, gum and even some jelly beans and marshmallows.

The probe is partly in response to reports about hospitalizations and even several deaths after consuming highly caffeinated drinks or energy shots. The drinks have not been proven to be a cause in those cases.

The new analysis, by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, shows that at least through 2010, energy drinks were an uncommon source of caffeine for most U.S. youth.

The results were published online Monday in the journal Pediatrics.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends against caffeine consumption for children and teens because of potentially harmful effects from the mild stimulant, including increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and worsening anxiety in those with anxiety disorders.

Dr. Stephen Daniels, chairman of the academy’s nutrition committee, said caffeine has no nutritional value and there’s no good data on what might be a safe amount for kids.

Evidence that even very young children may regularly consume caffeine products raises concerns about possible long-term health effects, so parents should try to limit their kids’ intake, said Daniels, head of pediatrics at the University of Colorado’s medical school.

The authors analyzed national health surveys from 1999 through 2010, involving a total of 22,000 from age 2 to 22. The children or their parents answered questions about what they ate or drank the previous day, a common method researchers use to assess Americans’ diets.

In 2010, 10 per cent of daily caffeine came from energy drinks for 19- to 22-year-olds; 2 per cent for 17- to 18-year-olds, and 3 per cent for 12- to 16-year-olds. For younger kids, the amount from energy drinks was mostly minimal or none during the study.

The average intake in the study was about 60- to 70 milligrams daily, the amount in a 6-ounce cup of coffee or two sodas, said lead author Amy Branum, a health statistician at the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. For the youngest kids it was much less than that.

Use of energy drinks increased rapidly during the study, even if they didn’t amount to a big portion of kids’ caffeine intake, and that rise “is a trend researchers are going to keep their eyes on,” Branum said.

Soda was the most common source of caffeine throughout the study for older children and teens; for those up to age 5, it was the second most common after tea. Soda intake declined for all ages as many schools stopped selling sugary soft drinks because of obesity concerns.

The American Beverage Association, whose members include makers of soft drinks and energy drinks, maintains that caffeine has been safely added to drinks as a flavour enhancer for more than 100 years.

“In amounts often found in coffee and some energy drinks, caffeine can have a pleasant stimulating or alerting effect,” the group’s website says.

Maureen Beach, a group spokeswoman, said the study confirms that kids’ consumption of caffeine from soft drinks has decreased.

———

Online:

American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.aap.org

FDA: http://1.usa.gov/1ixDjf5

Just Posted

Lacombe County residential development and golf course proposed

Lincoln Ranch would include 100 homes and nine-hole golf course

UPDATED: Shots fired in Riverside Meadows

Red Deer RCMP search for more suspects

Exploring eating disorders in sports and fitness

Eating Disorders Awareness Week runs Feb. 1 to 7

Driver in fatal crash acquitted

A 19-year-old Red Deer woman was killed and another injured in June 2012 crash west of Bowden

Royal close shave: Prince William opts for dramatic buzz cut

LONDON — The hair on the heir is no longer quite so… Continue reading

WATCH: Alberta Party leadership candidates in Red Deer

Three people vying to be the leader of the Alberta Party were… Continue reading

In photos: Get ready for Western Canadian Championships

Haywood NorAm Western Canadian Championships and Peavey Mart Alberta Cup 5/6 start… Continue reading

WATCH: Red Deer city council debates cost-savings versus quality of life

Majority of councillors decide certain services are worth preserving

Got milk? Highway reopened near Millet

A southbound truck hauling milk and cartons collided with a bridge

Stettler’s newest residents overcame fear, bloodshed to come here

Daniel Kwizera, Diane Mukasine and kids now permanent residents

Giddy up: Red Deer to host Canadian Finals Rodeo in 2018

The CFR is expected to bring $20-30 million annually to Red Deer and region

Ice dancers Virtue and Moir to carry flag at Pyeongchang Olympics

Not since Kurt Browning at the 1994 Lillehammer Games has a figure… Continue reading

Beer Canada calls on feds to axe increasing beer tax as consumption trends down

OTTAWA — A trade association for Canada’s beer industry wants the federal… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month