Is caffeine really bad for kids?
The short answer: Yes
The long(er) answer: caffeine affects every part of the body. It makes your child’s heart beat faster, increases blood pressure, speeds up digestion, changes sleep patterns, and affects how well your child can focus.
Caffeine is used in many diet products because it curbs appetite. This is a problem for kids since half of their adult body weight is gained in their teenage years. Many of the energy drinks that this age group is fond of contain not just caffeine, but other ingredients that perpetuate the effects of caffeine.
If your child is consuming caffeine in the form of soda, they are drinking either high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners, both of which are harmful for different reasons, but that is another topic of discussion. Let’s leave it at this: one or more sugary drink per day sets a child up for obesity in adulthood.
Caffeine alters sleep cycles, generally making your child more anxious, higher energy and less able to sleep. This is why many adults consume caffeine in the first place: it wakes us up for work when we haven’t gotten enough sleep the night before. Kids need 8-10 hours of sleep every night, which is critical to healthy growth and development. In one study, 90% of high school students reported getting less than 8 hours of sleep at night, with caffeine being the number one reason why.
If your child is consuming caffeine because they are tired during the day, set up a consultation with one of our doctors. We may be able to help!