It is not at all a very easy job to raise a child, especially when it comes to deciding and presiding over their dos and don’ts. It is not humanly possible for anyone to know about the advantages and disadvantages of every food or drink that might be consumed by your child, and yet there are times when you have to keep monitoring over their action, of course for their benefit only. Food habits form a very important part of every child’s growth and development and as parents, it is certainly our earnest responsibility to check if everything is okay with our children’s diet. To make things easier for you all, we have discussed in this article, several health risks that consumption of caffeine can cause to your kids and this is something you must know about.
Children these days are very fond of food products containing caffeine and parents sometimes, unaware of what effect they can have on their children’s health, do not stop them from having those products. From chocolate to coffee, children are usually too fond of products which contain caffeine due to more reason than one. The following food products, that your kids often consume, and to a large extent, for example, contain caffeine in considerable amounts:
- Soft Drinks
- Chocolate (Both dark chocolate and sweet chocolate)
- Ice cream
- Tea brews
- Breakfast cereals
- Hot Cocoa
- Energy Drinks
- Baked goods and sweets (such as choco chip cookies)
Needless to say, your child, in all probabilities, is very fond of all these items, and consumes most of them on regular basis, without being stopped or interrupted by you. Well, it’s high time for this to stop!
According to a 2014 study in the journal Pediatrics, approximately 73 percent of children consume caffeine on a given day. Most of this caffeine comes from soda. In addition, coffee and coffee-based drinks are an increasingly prevalent source of caffeine in children’s diets. Energy drinks, caffeine pills and foods containing caffeine, such as candy bars, mints and gum, are also more available to kids than ever before.
Kids and Caffeine: Risks of Caffeine Consumption
The following are the health hazards that the consumption of caffeine can cause to your children and you must be extremely aware of them:
Causes insomnia or lack of sleep
We are probably already aware of the fact that drinks like coffee help us from dozing off and keep us awake while we have to work whole night to meet deadlines. But, what we fail to realize is that, in a similar manner, coffee and other caffeine-containing products can basically lead your children to suffer from insomnia or lack of sleep. A study that came out in December 2010 in the journal Pediatrics found that 75 percent of children consume caffeine on a daily basis, and the more caffeine children consumed, the less they slept. Insomnia at this tender an age is something very serious and definitely needs attention. Therefore, the intake of products containing caffeine should be restricted, no matter what.
Leads to change in appetite
Caffeine, being a stimulant, changes the appetite in a kid. Adolescents gain half of their adult weight in their teenage years. If caffeine curbs their appetite in some way it could affect their growth. Kids often drink caffeine contained in regular soft drinks. Kids who drink one or more sweetened soft drink per day are 60% more likely to be obese. Therefore, items which contain caffeine play a massive role in affecting the children’s appetite as well as body weight.
Might cause dental problems
Caffeinated drinks often contain empty calories, and kids who fill up on them don’t get the vitamins and minerals they need from healthy sources. Too much soda can mean missing the calcium kids need from milk to build strong bones and teeth. Too many sweetened caffeinated drinks could lead to dental cavities from the high sugar content and the erosion of tooth enamel from acidity.
Leads to anxiety and mood disorders
Studies have suggested that products which contain caffeine have a direct impact on the nerves of the children which kind of makes them prone to mood disorders and anxiety disorders. Such psychological problems are further stimulated by the excessive intake of caffeine containing food items and drinks.
You have probably heard of this already! Caffeine containing items are one main reason for headaches and migraines. So, if your kid often complains of headache (whether or not accompanied by nausea and dizziness), make sure you chuck off the caffeine containing food products from his or her diet. This might cure him or her of the problem entirely.
Increases blood pressure and heart rate
The caffeine directly has an impact on your kid’s nerves and can increase their blood pressure and heart rate. Continuous and prolonged intake of caffeine can prove to be fatal for their health in this regard. Therefore, this ought to be kept in mind from a very early age and restrictions should me made accordingly.
Affects the central nervous system
As discussed earlier, caffeine basically acts as stimulants, thereby harming the central nervous system of your kid. The brains of a child tend to be a little bit more sensitive to caffeine’s effects than the brains of adults. Caffeine can cause them to be hyperactive, which is obvious. But it also can make them nervous, anxious, worsen stomach problems and create sleep problems.
It is therefore clear that excessive consumption of caffeine is not at all good for your kid’s health. But at the same time, please keep in mind that a sudden withdrawal from caffeine might lead to withdrawal symptoms, which have to be handled and taken care of well. Hence, it is always wise to stop the habit right at its beginning, before it becomes too difficult and risky to be taken care of.