Parents are often cautioned not to give children caffeinated drinks such as coffee, sodas, etc. for the potentially dangerous consequences caffeine intake can have on the health and development of children.
However, according to Dr. Laurie Cohen, director of the neuroendocrinology program at Children’s Hospital, Boston, it isn’t caffeine itself that could have a detrimental impact on the growth of kids; rather it could have an indirect impact. Caffeine consumption could result in less or poorer sleep for kids, thereby impacting growth and development negatively.
Growth hormones are secreted in the body during sleep, so that the less sleep children get, the more likely it is for their growth to be impeded. Children need more sleep than adults for this reason, for their overall health as well as for proper academic performance.
Studies have observed the impact of high caffeine consumption on adolescent sleep patterns, with those consuming high amounts of caffeine reporting difficulty sleeping and feeling tired even in the morning.
Other negative impacts of caffeine include increased risk of obesity, impairing concentration and making kids feel restless. So, although the impacts of caffeine are largely indirect, the consumption has to be restricted and care should be taken not to have caffeinated drinks within 6 hours of bedtime.