Caffeine common among teens, raises concerns


Emma Scott

National Coffee Day was celebrated Sept. 29, and with the new Bolt shop selling coffee, students were able to join in on the festivities right here at OHS. However, as more teenagers enjoy this popular trend, concerns are also being raised as to whether there are negatives to young people consuming caffeine.

“It seems like coffee has made a comeback, and kids now are drinking coffee much younger than I think they did historically,” school nurse Meg Hayden said.

Seventy-three percent of children and teenagers drink caffeine on a given day, according to a study published in 2014 by the journal Pediatrics.

“I drink coffee every morning, and I drink a soda probably once a day,” sophomore Alice McCullers said. “I drink coffee to wake me up, and sodas just because I think they taste good.”

The positive effects of caffeine are that it can aid in attentiveness and supplies people both young and old with a tasty beverage.

“Caffeine kind of gives me focus, but not much,” junior Quinn Harris said. “It keeps me awake. I drink a Dr. Pepper and I am going to feel so much better when I get to school.”

While there have not been many studies about how caffeine affects children, evidence shows that it can also cause negative effects that can be unhealthy for young people whose brains and bodies are still growing.

“The negatives of it are that it can cause a lot of sleep disturbance, so you have to be careful of how late in the day you drink caffeine,” Hayden said. “For kids, sleep is very important for growth and brain development.

“You are getting up, having a rigorous day of all day school, and having to do assignments, so sleep deprivation is something that is not good for you.”

Steps that can be taken to avoid some negative effects from caffeine is to provide limitations of how much caffeine is consumed to refrain from acquiring an unhealthy dependency on caffeine, as well as drinking water to stay hydrated.

“If your body is telling you that it is thirsty, and you drink a caffeinated beverage, it is not going to be as hydrating as drinking water,” Hayden said. “If you are going to drink coffee, limit it to one to two cups a day, and make sure you are drinking the proper amount of water.”