Educating teenagers can lower caffeine intake

Toronto, March 8 (IANS) Educating teenagers about the harmful effects of drinking caffeinated beverages is the only way to curb heavy consumption and lower potential health risks in them, finds a study.

“By developing more comprehensive educational strategies and enhancing policies, it may be possible to decrease caffeine use in adolescents and mitigate the potential health risks,” said senior author Danielle S. Battram from Brescia University College in Ontario, Canada.

Caffeine overconsumption and caffeine intoxication have serious health effects, even in moderate doses.

“With that in mind, we need to correct the misconceptions adolescents have regarding certain aspects of caffeine,” Battram added in the paper published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior.

For this, the team developed a study to determine attitudes and beliefs as well as factors influencing caffeinated beverage consumption among adolescents.

In a study of 166 youth (42 percent male and 72 percent in grades 9 and 10), researchers found that nearly half (44.6 percent) of the respondents drank caffeinated beverages one to six times per week.

Only 4.8 percent of those surveyed never consumed drinks containing caffeine, but 11.4 percent had a caffeinated beverage daily.

Adolescents indicated they perceived drinking caffeinated beverages as a sign of being grown up and the lack of barriers and easy access to those beverages also influenced how often they would drink those beverages.

Creating specific education strategies to curb caffeine intake was identified as an important next step. Further education could lead to better decision-making regarding caffeine intake, the authors noted.

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