Are Parents Underestimating Their Teen’s Caffeine Consumption?

In a new national poll, 1 in 4 parents say their teens consume caffeine daily, but many don’t know the recommended limits.

Are parents underestimating how much caffeine their teens are consuming? In a new national poll, one in four parents report that caffeine is now a part of their teen's daily life. While most parents think they know whether their teen's caffeine intake is appropriate, the results show that one in three are not able to identify the recommended limits for 12 to 18-year-olds.

The poll's co-director says coming up with an estimate can be challenging, but it is important for health. "Teens' brains are still developing, and excessive caffeine consumption can affect their mood, sleep, and school performance, along with other side effects, says Susan Woolford, MD.

According to the poll, soda is the top source of caffeine for teens, followed by coffee and tea. Energy drinks are a less popular choice. As for why teens choose these beverages, 40% of parents believe it's the taste and not the stimulating effect. Less than 20% say it's because their peers do, and even fewer think it's to stay awake during class, manage an early school start time, or help with studying and focus.

The American Academy of Pediatrics suggests kids stick to water. Other medical experts recommend that teens cap their caffeine intake at 100 mg per day, which is equal to one cup of coffee or two cans of soda.

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