Caffeinated Kids - KAUZ-TV: Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Caffeinated Kids

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children and adolescents continue to consume more and more caffeine, but this caffeine intake is mostly coming from energy drinks and coffee, rather than soda. 
A can of the "Monster" energy drink contains 160 mg of caffeine, while a can of Cola only contains 34 mg. 
"Caffeine has no nutritional value.  Some even consider it a drug because of its effects on the body.  The more caffeine you consume, you can decrease the good nutritional value you need in most foods," said Nurse Practitioner for the Clinics of North Texas, Merrill Wood. 
Over 70-percent of children consume caffeine in some type of way, everyday, which can lead to long term effects.
"Definitely their attention span is an effect.  Kids could also have an unknown heart condition.  If they have an undiagnosed heart defect, it could cause some issues with that as well.  High amounts of caffeine can also lead to a chances of obesity, higher levels of blood sugar and possibly Type 2 Diabetes," said Wood. 
 Energy drinks, coffee, and tea have way more caffeine than you think. 
"A cup of coffee is about 115 mg of caffeine and the "Jolt" energy drink has about 70 mg of caffeine.  We recommend looking at the ingredients on the back of your teenager or child's drinks and seeing how much caffeine they are the consuming a day," said Wood. 
If your child consumes caffeine, whether it’s from eating or drinking, it should definitely be in moderation.  There are ways for you to keep your child alert without the use of caffeine. 
"You can increase your child’s heart rate by having them eat a good balanced diet with whole grains, fruits and vegetables.  Also, eating proteins and making healthy choices.  If you have a child that drinks a lot of caffeine you should slowly replace those drinks with non caffeinated ones, like water or fruit juice," said Wood. 
Taylor Barnes, Newschannel 6