Coffee stunts growth.
The idea of children drinking coffee is usually frowned upon. The reason often given is because it will stunt their growth.
There are three main factors that contribute to a child’s growth: environment, genetics, and lifestyle. Environmental factors include how much noise the child is exposed to that might prevent a good night’s sleep or toxins in his environment. Genetics refers to the set of growth instructions that a child is born with and is based on the parents’ height. Lifestyle factors include the nutrients the child consumes both in the womb and after birth. Coffee consumption is a lifestyle factor.
Misbar has discovered that the idea that coffee consumption causes children to be shorter is not based in science; rather, it is most likely attributed to an ad campaign from the late 1800s according to the Atlantic. It was around this time that Post went into business selling a cereal-based, caffeine-free coffee substitute called Postum. Post cannily marketed the product as a health beverage while frightening consumers about the bad effects of coffee on both adults and children.
Since the time that Post tried to steer adults and children away from coffee, the beverage has been studied extensively for health benefits and dangers. For the most part, coffee has come out as a relatively healthy drink choice at least for adults based on its natural level of antioxidants. According to the American Chemical Society, coffee is the chief source of antioxidants in the U.S. diet. There was at least one study that showed coffee consumption may have been linked to osteoporosis in adults but that study was later found to link a lack of calcium, not consumption of coffee to be the culprit.
However, even though coffee has not been found to reduce the height of children, there are still cautions about its consumption among young people. The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry discourages caffeine consumption for children based on other factors including insomnia, anxiety, and the potential for caffeine overdose just to name a few. Especially with the widely available use of highly caffeinated energy drinks that are sometimes marketed to children, the American Academy of Pediatrics advises against the consumption of highly caffeinated drinks by children and adolescents.