Caffeine, Tweens and Teens

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Story Updated: Jun 17, 2014

The popularity of caffeinated energy drinks has prompted a rise in caffeine intake among young tweens and older teens. But now new research suggests that as children enter puberty boys and girls begin to react to caffeine differently. The finding published in Pediatrics follows an analysis involving 96 boys and girls.

About half were between 8 and 9 years old, while the rest were aged 15 to 17. Heart rate and blood pressure were monitored as all participants consumed either non-caffeinated soda, soda with 1 mg/kg of caffeine or soda with 2 mg/kg of caffeine. No significant differences were spotted among pre-pubescent boys and girls.

However, older boys seemed to have a stronger reaction to caffeine consumption than the girls. The investigators also found that older girls reacted to caffeine differently depending on shifting menstrual cycles.

The study authors say more research is called for in order to determine whether the gender differences seen are driven mostly by hormonal differences or differences in caffeine consumption habits.

I'm Dr. Cindy Haines of HealthDay TV with the health news that matters to you and your family.

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