A report in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics, indicated that about 73 percent of adolescents consume caffeine each day. However, the source of the caffeine comes from a surprising place.
The main culprit is not sports or energy drinks, which account for just a fraction of the caffeine consumed by youth, at 6 percent. Caffeine from soda has decreased significantly in the last decade, though it is still the drink that accounts for the most amount of caffeine in children, at 38 percent.
Surprisingly though, even to the authors of the study, coffee now accounts for almost 25 percent of the caffeine intake in children today.
The report found that kids were not consuming more caffeine than a decade ago, but that coffee and to a lesser degree, energy drinks, represent a large proportion of caffeine intake. Caffeine from soda declined greatly, moving down 24 percentage points, or about 40 percent, during the years of this study from 2000 to 2010.
Though energy drinks have gotten a bad rap from a lot of different places, they don’t seem to be the place kids are looking to get their caffeine fix.
The Food and Drug Administration has investigated the reports of sickness and death associated with energy drinks. Senators on Capitol Hill harshly questioned energy drink executives about how they market their drinks to children under the age of 18.
Hospitals have reported increases in the number of Emergency Room visits due to energy drinks. But, perhaps the blame for an uber-caffeinated generation should be placed on the coffee shops dotting every corner.
Kids are not always aware of the amount of caffeine found in coffee, or any drink for that matter. While the amount of liquid may be the same from beverage to beverage, the amount of caffeine in them could be very different.
The Center for Science in the Public Interest analyzed the amount of caffeine in some popular items and found that a “tall” 12-ounce cup of coffee at Starbucks contains about 260 milligrams of caffeine, which is almost five times as much as the same size cup of Diet Coke.