One reason coffee is not given to children is the widespread belief that the caffeinated drink can inhibit the growth of children. But does this idea have any truth?
The real answer is “no”: There is no evidence that coffee or caffeine inhibits the growth and development of childhood.
Instead, a person’s height is largely governed by other factors. For instance, hundreds of genes to date they are thought to account for around 16% of a person’s adult height.
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A child’s general health also plays a part. For example, chronic infection in childhood can lead to nourishment and bone growth, as seen by number of various studies. In addition, whether a baby has access to important dietary needs, such as milk, in their early years also affects height, as does the mother’s diet during pregnancy, according to research in the journal Nutrition Research Reviews.
So why do some people still think that coffee can stop a baby ‘s growth?
No one knows for sure, but there are a theory or two. In the 1980s, several inspections recommended there was an increased risk of regular coffee consumption osteoporosis as caffeine can lead to increased calcium excretion (although the effect was small). If caffeine were able to weaken bones it was possible to imagine that higher consumption in childhood would lead to a shorter stature. However, it turned out that there was another variable to play: Coffee drinkers also tended to eat less milk, a major source of calcium. In other words, it was not the coffee, but enough calcium, that caused the problem. Moreover, later research found no link between osteoporosis and coffee consumption, according to Harvard Health Publication.
Another idea is that many studies have linked caffeine consumption to both positive and negative health effects, just adding to the controversy.
“There are so many epidemiological studies on coffee, indicating harm or good, that it is upsetting,” said science writer Mark Pendergast, author of “Uncommon Grounds: The History of Coffee and How It Transformed Our World ”(Basic Books, 2019).
Another theory, preferred by Duane Mellor, a dietitian at Aston University in the United Kingdom, is that the myth comes from the suggestion that pregnant women limit their caffeine consumption because of some research connected a fetus exposure to caffeine at higher risk of error without vigor. However, these studies are limited by small sample sizes. The evidence is inconclusive at the moment, so health organizations like the The World Health Organization is now advising pregnant women should limit caffeine consumption (but do not avoid it altogether) to reduce the potential risk of pregnancy loss and low birth weight in infants.
“That’s where we have this idea of growth and caffeine, but the biology of a fetus and how it gets its nutrition pushed through a placenta is so different from a free-living person,” Mellor said. “The metabolisms are different too. You can’t draw parallels.”
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So the science is clear: Coffee does not hinder children’s growth. In fact, it may be healthier for a child to have a weak cup of soda soaked in sugar soda, tooth decay, Mellor said.
“Weak coffee may not be great coffee,” Mellor told Live Science. “Some of the bitter notes in chests are divided by vegetables, and you may even see the benefit of getting them. [kids] used to these flavors. Of course, you wouldn’t want to give them strong coffee, but of course I would be more concerned about sugary drinks. ”
But Mellor doesn’t advise giving your child a double espresso every morning, either. And for good reason: Moderation is basic. Caffeine can cause increased anxiety, high blood pressure and acid reflux, and can also prevent sleep deprivation, depending on Johns Hopkins Medicine. Caffeine from coffee can cause these issues in adults, of course. But children have smaller bodies, so the same amounts of caffeine can have a more pronounced effect on them, too, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. For that reason, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends young children avoid it and teens limit their coffee.
Despite the evidence, it seems that this coffee myth will never go away anytime soon.
“The widespread myth that it stops your growth is not completely disappearing,” Pendergast told Live Science. “Once a health myth enters our culture, it’s very difficult to eradicate it.”
First published on Living Science.