When Kids Drink Coffee Does It Really Stunt Their Growth?

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It should come as no surprise why kids would want a sip of their parents' morning java. Drinking coffee is routine for most parents. A sip or two need not cause worry, but when kids drink coffee often, should parents be worried? More importantly, is there a link to drinking coffee and stunting kids' growth?

Is It Ok for Kids to Drink Coffee?

Coffee is seen as a healthier alternative to sugary drinks. It may even help kids develop a flavor for bitter foods shared by coffee and some vegetables. However, moderation is key when giving kids coffee. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that kids abstain from drinking coffee and teens limit their coffee intake. Even small amounts of coffee can have more pronounced effects on these smaller bodies.

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Factors that Affect Kids' Height

Genetics plays a significant role in determining the height of an individual. There are hundreds of identified genes responsible for at least 16% of a person's height, Live Science revealed. Another factor would be getting infections during infancy that could slow bone growth as well as nutritional uptake. As a child grows, essential dietary needs should be met.

Kids Who Drink Coffee Drink Milk Less

Several studies conducted in the 1980s led to the theory that regular coffee drinkers had a higher risk of developing osteoporosis due to caffeine causing minimal calcium excretion. Later, researchers found that coffee drinkers, in general, tend to consume less milk. In turn, they get a lot less calcium. Harvard Health later debunked coffee consumption as a cause for osteoporosis.

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Caffeine in Coffee Makes Kids Sleep Less

High doses of caffeine, which can be found in coffee, can lead to certain problems-restlessness, irritability, tiredness, headaches, dizziness, insomnia, and anxiety. It can be easy to underestimate how much coffee is too much to give to kids. Further, caffeine can trigger problems for individuals who have heart problems or are taking specific medication, Kids Health revealed.

ALSO READ: Is It Okay For Teenagers To Drink Coffee?

Keep in mind that caffeine has a half-life of 4 to 6 hours. For young coffee drinkers, half the cup of coffee they drank at 10 am will remain in their system until 2 to 4 pm. Of course, other factors come into play, such as caffeine tolerance and metabolism.

Later consumption of coffee, such as late in the afternoon or a few hours before bedtime, may impact sleep. Coffee late in the afternoon can lead to trouble falling asleep, delayed bedtimes, sleep deprivation, and even insomnia. Apart from reduced sleep time, kids who drink coffee later in the day may experience a reduced slow-wave sleep-the phase of sleep where growth hormone is released.

Hence, if coffee is consumed earlier in the day, the child's adequate nutritional needs, especially calcium, are met. They get sufficient sleep at night. There is little reason to worry about any impact of coffee on their growth. Further, once the growth spurt in puberty ends, the effect of caffeine on growth becomes irrelevant.

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