Kids drinking more energy drinks, coffee

CDC releases new information on children and caffeine

By Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects
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There's good news and bad news from the newest study on kids and caffeine. Children and adolescents are drinking less caffeinated soda, but they're taking in more energy drinks and coffee.

"So, the research didn't really find a mean increase overall caffeine consumption. However they did find that there was a greater proportion of caffeine coming from coffee and energy drinks instead of soda," explained Tara Harwood, who did not take part in the study but is a pediatric registered dietitian at Cleveland Clinic Children's.

Researchers at the Centers for Disease Control looked at trends in caffeine intake among 2 to 11-year-old children.  They used information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey.

They found that between 1999 and 2010 73% of children consumed caffeine on any given day. Soda accounted for the majority of caffeine intake, but it dropped from 62% in 1999 to 38% in 2010. Coffee accounted for 10% of caffeine intake in 1999, but increased to nearly 24% in 2010. 

Energy drinks did not exist in 1999, but accounted for 6% of caffeine intake in 2010. The American Academy of Pediatrics maintains a position that stimulant-containing energy drinks have no place in the diets of children and adolescents.  Harwood agrees.

"I definitely do not recommend energy drinks because they have this combination of caffeine and other ingredients that could have a synergistic effect, meaning the effects of the caffeine could be amplified and we really don't know what that could do to your child," she said.

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