Coffee's Effects on Children
Coffee is a drink that contains caffeine, which increases alertness. It has often been regarded as a drink that stunts child development in the body. However, this myth is false. But different doctors and associations have different opinions on the consumption of coffee by adolescents and children. The effects of caffeine are mainly negative, rarely any positive ones. However, different amounts of caffeine may be beneficial for some and terribly consequential for others.
Different organizations and doctors have different opinions on whether or not children should consume coffee at all. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages caffeine consumption for kids, but there are no federal guidelines for caffeine intake regarding children. Canada has basic guidelines regarding the amount of coffee children should be restricted by. These restrictions are enforced in medical practices in Canada even though research has not shown that coffee stunts growth, as it does not affect how bones grow. However, it is generally agreed that it is better for children to not drink coffee than to drink it.
The effects of coffee on children in regards to their nervous systems and cardiovascular systems are not fully known, but caffeine certainly has negative effects. For instance, a large amount of caffeine can increase anxiety, heart rate, blood pressure, acid reflux and sleep disturbance. Also, a large quantity of caffeine can be very toxic and dangerous for kids. Thus, specific amounts are restricted to children of different ages in Canada: 45 mgs for those 4-6 years of age, 62.5 mgs for 7 – 9 years, and 85 mgs for 10-12. Regarding the positive effects or benefits of coffee for children, there are almost none.
Some research has shown that coffee may be beneficial for adults. It has shown that coffee decreases the risk of stroke, cancer, certain heart conditions, type 2 diabetes, and Alzheimer's disease. This is because it contains antioxidants and other substances in it that help protect one against various diseases. But in children, there have been no findings showing the benefits.
Since the negative consequences of drinking coffee outweigh the benefits, it is better for kids to not drink coffee. The numerous consequences including withdrawal symptoms render coffee dangerous for children. Even though it may not affect their growth, coffee, if it is consumed in large amounts, can cause numerous health problems. If a child wishes to have coffee once in a while, following Canada's basic guidelines for restrictions may prevent severe consequences.
Healthline.com. 2015 Jun 11. Ask the experts: When can kids start drinking coffee?
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Lewsley, J. 2021 Apr 28. Children and coffee drinking.