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Kids Caffeine: Study Shows Intake the Same, But Drink Choices Different

By Alexandra Ward   |   Tuesday, 11 Feb 2014 12:02 PM

A new study found that 73 percent of U.S. kids have caffeine in their systems on a daily basis but that their caffeinated beverages of choice have changed over the last decade or so.

Researchers from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyzed information from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys from 1999 to 2010 and found that the overall percentage of caffeine consumption for children and young adults hasn’t changed much.

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Their findings were published this week in the journal Pediatrics.

According to the study, 6- to 11-year-olds consume about 32 milligrams of caffeine daily, which is about how much is in a can of Coke or Pepsi. Twelve to 16-year-olds consume 67 milligrams daily, which is equivalent to one Lemon Snapple iced tea or two cans of Coke.

The caffeine intake is coming more from energy drinks and coffee now, though, rather than soda.

In 2000, 62 percent of young caffeine consumers got their jolt through soda. By 2010, however, just 38 percent of the caffeine ingested by kids came from soda.

"You might expect that caffeine intake decreased, since so much of the caffeine kids drink comes from soda," lead author Amy Branum, a statistician at the CDC's National Center for Health Statistics, told MSN Healthy Living. "But what we saw is that these decreases in soda were offset by increases in coffee and energy drinks."

Children and teens should avoid caffeine consumption because it can lead to harmful effects like increases in heart rate and blood pressure, and worsening anxiety in those with anxiety disorders, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

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