Kids and Coffee

In a recent poll on our Personal Baby Products Fan Page through Facebook, we asked:

What’s your favorite hot beverage on a cold day? Here's what we got back:
Coffee 50%
Tea 12.5%
Hot Chocolate 25%
Cider 12.5%
Something Else 0%
I Don’t Drink Hot Beverages 0%

According to Wikipedia.org, "in North America, 90% of adults consume caffeine daily." Our votes came from adults, but is coffee ever appropriate for children? There are many facts and schools of thought on the matter.

What's so bad about coffee? It contains the natural stimulant caffeine. Kids are naturally full of liveliness, and caffeine is known to add excessive energy to normally active kids. This jolt can produce jitteriness, restlessness, irritability, headache, increased heart rate, heartburn, addiction and elevated blood pressure. None of of this is good for anyone, but coffee isn’t all bad.

Here are what some of our sources said about coffee and your health.

Pros:
– Reports from around the internet say many different things. Regular coffee has been touted as helping prevent or lower risk of things like Parkinson’s disease, liver cirrhosis, colon cancer, Type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, liver ailments, and gallstones.

– Asthmatics have reported that drinking coffee can help ease frequent asthma attacks. "When I would have an attack in the middle of the night, my dad would make me drink a cup of hot, black coffee, because that is what his family did for him. It is a bronchodilator, and it would make my asthma symptoms go away." (Robin Richards, art teacher for the Memphis City Schools system[1])

– Black coffee is a low-calorie choice whose components (excluding caffeine) can have a calming effect. "There's too much (negative) attention on coffee, rather than energy and soft drinks."
(Dr. Peter R. Martin, professor of Psychiatry and Pharmacology at Vanderbilt Psychiatric Hospital[1])

– ADHD sufferers may find that coffee can actually help them focus. While not verified in medical studies, some parents of hyperactive kids have noticed coffee’s benefits to their ADHD children.[2]

– Brazilian studies have shown a strange trend – children who drink coffee with milk are less likely to have depression than other kids.[3]

Cons:
– “Researchers found that 75% of children surveyed consumed caffeine on a daily basis, and the more caffeine the children consumed, the less they slept.”[4]

– According to kidshealth.org, “consuming one 12-ounce sweetened soft drink per day increases a child's risk of obesity by 60 percent. Kids who fill up on soft drinks don't get the vitamins and minerals they need from healthy sources, putting them at risk for nutritional deficiencies." That's the thought process for soda – the same can be said of super sweet coffee drinks (mochas, flavored lattes, etc.) which are full of calories as well as caffeine.”[5]

– Dr. Burton Hayes, a pediatrician with UT Medical Group, warns that the effects of caffeine may last longer in children than in adults. However, Hayes also notes that one or two cups a day is probably OK for healthy teenagers and older. "Coffee has been in and out of favor for years," says Hayes. "Right now we're on a 'good for you' swing."[1]

All said and done, a child’s health and nutrition is up to the parent. Do you have questions and concerns? Always check with your family doctor regarding what’s right for your child in regards to the food and drink in your daily life.

Do you let your child drink coffee? Tell us why or why not in the comments section below, and/or chime in on our Facebook Page by clicking HERE.

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Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons:
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/45/Coffeee_img451.jpg

Sources:
1 Coffee & kids: A sip is OK, but too much caffeine and calories a problemhttp://www.commercialappeal.com/news/2009/mar/17/coffee-kids/
2 Coffee and ADHDhttp://attention-deficit-disorder.blogspot.com/2006/03/coffee-and-adhd.html
3 Kids & Coffeehttp://www.kidzworld.com/article/17060-kids-and-coffee#ixzz1ivTDtP00
4 “Caffeine Consumption in Young Children” by William J Warzak, PhD, Shelby Evans, PhD, Margaret T Floress, PhD, Amy C Gross, PhD, and Sharon Stoolman, MD, appears in The Journal of Pediatrics, DOI 10.1016/j.jpeds.2010.11.022, published by Elsevier.
5 Caffeine and Your Childhttp://kidshealth.org/parent/growth/feeding/child_caffeine.html