Java for your toddler?
A cup of coffee in the morning is a ritual many American adults participate in, but what about their children? A recent study from Boston Medical Center found that approximately 15 percent of two years olds consume up to four ounces of coffee a day.
Researchers were studying infant weight gain and diet by looking at 315 mother-infant pairs and the consumption of breast milk, formula, water and juice. In the process, they found that many women reported giving their children coffee to drink. Consumption by one-year-olds was reported as 2.5 percent but increased to just above 15 percent for two-year-olds with the average daily consumption of these children being 1.09 ounces.
“Our results show that many infants and toddlers in Boston – and perhaps in the U.S. – are being given coffee and that this could be associated with cultural practices,” said the study’s principal investigator Anne Merewood, PhD, MPH, director of the Breastfeeding Center at BMC and associate professor of pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine.”
Children of Hispanic mothers were more likely to drink coffee than those of non-Hispanic mothers. Additionally, female children were more likely than their male counterparts to drink coffee.
What do pediatricians think of this news?
“We recommend only milk and water be given to toddlers,” says Dr. Andrea Kane, pediatrician with Advocate Children’s Medical Group in Bloomington, Illinois. “Caffeine can stunt height/growth, affect sleep, lead to poor behavior and more. Coffee and teas have zero nutritional value and shouldn’t be offered to children, especially younger ones.”
Dr. Aaron Traeger, a pediatrician with Advocate Children’s Medical Group in Bloomington, Illinois agrees when it comes to beverage selection. “Diluted juice and other sugary drinks are okay with moderation but please let kids be kids and keep the adult caffeinated drinks away until they are adults or at least old enough to buy it for themselves.”
About the Author
Lynn Hutley, health enews contributor, is coordinator of public affairs and marketing at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center and Advocate Eureka Hospital in central Illinois. Having grown up in a family-owned drug store, it is no surprise that Lynn has spent almost 18 years working in the health care industry. She has a degree in human resources management from Illinois State University and is always ready to tackle Trivia Night.