6 Things Teenagers MUST know about coffee
American teenagers are now drinking coffee more than ever before.
According to statistics from the National Coffee Association, 33% of today’s coffee drinkers are between 12 and 18 years. (1), showing that teens are incorporating this beverage more into their everyday routine.
Whether adolescents drink coffee to help them stay up to study at night, remain active in sports, or it’s due to social influence, the coffee-drinking trend in teenagers shows no signs of slowing down.
1. The Growing Trend
Teens now have the highest annual growth rate of coffee drinkers in the US and they are changing the way we drink coffee by consuming it in coffee shops and brewing specialty coffee in their homes. Its now common for most households to have an espresso machine like this, or a coffee maker, at home for everyone to use. This can be dangerous as it sets a habit.
Unlike before, teens now start the day, like Mom and Dad would, with coffee. They also end the day with it, especially if they need to stay awake to study. These two routines have contributed significantly to the growing numbers.
2. Some Shocking Statistics
The number of teens consuming coffee is now three times what it was in 1970. Then, less than 11% of teens drank coffee compared to today’s 33%. Today, four out of every ten teenagers drink one cup of coffee per day (2).
When you consider that 50 – 60% of Americans are coffee drinkers, it’s evident that teens are likely to become the largest coffee market in the US in the coming years and more likely to become lifetime coffee drinkers.
3. It’s Spilling Over Into Schools
Coffee drinking no longer takes place in coffee shops or homes; today, coffee drinking is spilling over into schools.
Schools now serve coffee in the cafeteria or canteen and allow students to show up with reusable coffee mugs, making it easier for them to drink refills throughout the day.
4. Potential Effects
As a teen parent, the potential effects of coffee drinking should be among your primary concern.
Coffee contains caffeine, which stimulates the central nervous system, increasing alertness. Although caffeine is a legal substance, it is also addictive (3).
Essentially, caffeine has both positive and negative impacts on teens.
Coffee is beneficial only when taken in small portions. Caffeine boosts moods and increases alertness, awareness, and information processing. Also, caffeine energizes teens to participate in school sports and physical exercise.
On the flip side, caffeine comes with a handful of adverse side effects.
According to Hae-Wol Cho, “excessive caffeine intake by adolescents has been associated with a number of detrimental health effects such as nervousness, irritability, nausea, cardiovascular symptoms, sleep impairment, osteoporosis, and gastric ulcers.” (4).
Additionally, the caffeine withdrawal process can lead to insomnia, headaches, aggression, fatigue, and lower concentration, disrupting teens’ daily activities.
5. Teenage Girls and Coffee
As obesity increases in the US, many teenage girls are replacing eating with drinking coffee and smoking in a bid to suppress appetite.
This trend emanated from the fashion world, which glorifies stick-thin models. Some experts believe that this trend can catapult teenage girls into the realm of unhealthy heating, putting them at risk of developing bulimia or anorexia.
Teen girls also experienced blood pressure and heart rate changes throughout their menstrual cycle, further supporting a theory that puberty changes the body’s reaction to caffeine.
6. Teenage Boys and Coffee
Teenage boys consume more coffee than teen girls; the drink helps them stay more alert and actively participate in sports later in the day.
Researchers have also found that caffeine increased systolic blood pressure and lowered heart rates in children past puberty (5) by three to eight beats per minute. In both cases, adolescent boys were affected more than girls.
Deeply Consider Caffeine and Your Teen
As a parent or guardian, it is essential to consider the interaction between your teenagers and coffee.
How much is too much? The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests that adolescents aged 12 – 18 can drink only one cup of coffee per day, which contains 100 mg of caffeine. This allowance is acceptable as long as they avoid other sources of caffeine like chocolate, energy drinks, and iced tea.
While coffee is vital in enhancing mood and alertness, caffeine over-consumption can lead to anxiety, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, addiction, gastrointestinal issues, and other harmful effects (6).
For this reason, you need to consider and even limit the amount your teen consumes per day.
The Bottom Line
There is a surge in coffee consumption among American teens, but the relationship between teenagers and coffee remains healthy. Still, your role as a parent or guardian is to ensure they drink quantities that don’t exceed health professionals’ recommendations.
Please let us know your thoughts by commenting below. Also, check out our blog to learn more about coffee, from sourcing the right beans to preparing the best coffee at home. Consider choosing your coffee beans wisely if you’re going to consume coffee daily.