Kids and caffeine: How much is too much?
BY ERIN ANDERSEN / Lincoln Journal Star (exerpts)Although there is no agreement on just how much caffeine is acceptable, some experts suggest no more than 100 mg a day, depending upon the age of the child. The younger the child, the less caffeine should be allowed. According to health and fitness guru Bob Greene's Web site —www.getwiththeprogram.org — daily caffeine limits by age should be 45 mg for 4-to 6-year-olds; 63 mg for 7- to 9- year-olds and 85 mg for 10- to 12- year-olds. Adults should limit themselves to 300 mg a day — about the amount in three cups of coffee, according to Greene's Web site. Many pediatricians and dietitians will tell you the best amount of caffeine for kids is none at all.Too much caffeine can cause nervousness, irritability, insomnia, headaches and dizziness. Too much caffeine can reduce attention spans and decrease a child's ability to perform tasks requiring fine motor coordination, arithmetic skills or accurate timing.Caffeine is quick-acting. Adults often feel its effects within 15 minutes. It takes 6 hours for the body to eliminate just half of the caffeine. For kids - whose bodies are smaller and weigh less - the effects are increased.__ Caffeine can lead to dehydration.__ Caffeine can cause a loss of calcium and magnesium from the body, which are vital forbone development.__ Caffeine can increase a child's risk of obesity.__ New evidence indicates caffeine consumption may be the cause of high blood pressurein kids.
__ France has banned some energy drinks. Other European countries require warninglabels on the drinks telling people about the caffeine content.__ In the US, caffeine must be listed as an ingredient only if it is added to the beverage. Ifit is naturally occurring, such as in coffee, tea and chocolate, it does not need to belisted as an ingredient.__ Know the difference between "sports drinks"(contain electrolytes which are good for re-hydration) and "energy drinks" (often loaded with caffeine and sugar).__Some amounts of caffeine: coffee(5 oz) - 60-150 mg., tea(5 oz) - 40-80mg., hot cocoa(5oz) - 1-8 mg., Cherry Coke - 31mg., Mr. Pibb - 40 mg., Coke - 45mg., Red Bull -80mg., Surge - 51mg., Mountain Dew - 55mg., Mug Root Beer, 7-Up , Sprite - 0mg.__ Iced tea served at EFS lunch(8 oz) - 30mg.