Should Kids Drink Coffee? It’s one thing for adults to jump start their day with a cup or two (or three or four) of coffee, but is it safe for kids? Drive by any coffee shop these days and you’ll find an alarming new trend: half the people standing in line with you for your morning double-double are teenagers! Obviously the recent proliferation of coffee shops in the last few decades has contributed to this phenomenon and like all trends, parent should be well informed about the decisions their young teens are making. Caffeine is the most widely consumed drug in the world. Regular consumption of coffee and soft drinks had been found to significantly reduce levels of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals needed to support healthy bones and chemical reactions in the body. Excessive coffee consumption has been linked to stroke, diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis! Let’s not exclude the most popular caffeinated drinks among teens: Energy drinks. These drinks can contain more than four times the caffeine as a regular soft drink! Also, because they are relatively new on the scene, parents may not realize how damaging they can be. As I’ve mentioned before in previous articles, your kids are watching! When 80-90% of all adults report regular caffeine use, it’s no wonder our children have followed suit. Remember eating habits and food behavior are established early on in childhood and adolescence and will be carried forward well into adulthood. As a loving parent, please assist your children in making healthier beverage choices. Here are some tips: • Give your kids an appealing alternative such as juices or bottled water. • Do not substitute caffeinated drinks with diet drinks. Often, diet drinks will contain MORE caffeine. • Watch you child’s caffeine intake and discourage them from drinking caffeinated drinks on a regular basis. • Set the example by reducing your own consumption of caffeinated drinks.