Forget Energy Drinks — New Study Says Kids Are Downing More Coffee Than Before

While the media and health officials have been keeping a beady eye fixed on energy drink consumption in young people, it seems a dark horse is riding toward the front of the caffeinated pack: that old stand-by, coffee. A new study says teens get a lot more caffeine from coffee drinks than they had in the past.

The report in the journal Pediatrics found that 17- and 18-year-olds are getting almost twice the amount of caffeine from coffee than they did 10 years ago. And tweens ages 12-16 are joining in too.

The study’s authors used numbers from 1999-2010 on caffeine consumption and said that coffee accounted for 10% of caffeine intake in 1999–2000 and jumped to almost 24% of intake in 2008-2010.

“It was a surprise,” researcher Amy Branum, of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told NPR’s The Salt blog.

The good news is that while the delivery methods are shifting, overall caffeine consumption has stayed mostly the same. While soda is still the biggest caffeine drink on the scene, adolescents aren’t drinking as much of it: Soda dropped from 62% of all caffeine consumption in 1999-2010 to only 38%.

Another bright spot in the study? Preschool kids aren’t drinking as much caffeine as they used to. We’re sure their parents are pretty happy about that, too. Because a three-year-old on caffeine does not a restful day make.

Trends in Caffeine Intake Among US Children and Adolescents [Pediatrics]
How Caffeinated Are Our Kids? Coffee Consumption Jumps [The Salt]