There really can’t be many kids in the western world that don’t get their first taste of coffee until they hit their teens. But while the odd little sip here and there is suspected to do no real harm whatsoever, it seems there are some parents taking early introduction to coffee a little too far.

 

There appears to be a growing culture in certain parts of the United States where young children and even toddlers are being given up to 4-fluid-ounces of coffee by their parents every day. Hispanic mothers in particular seem to be more in the habit of giving coffee to their kids, while girls are in general more likely to be given coffee by their mothers than boys.

 

On the whole, the study reached the worrying conclusion that up to 15% of all toddlers in Boston are drinking 4oz of coffee on a daily basis.

 

According to experts, the phenomenon likely originates from families who may be more used to receiving coffee at a young age than others. For example, when a family has roots in a culture such as that of Ethiopia, part of Australia or Cambodia, it’s seen as the norm to begin drinking coffee before turning five years old. Speaking on behalf of the Boston Medical Centre, associate professor of paediatrics Dr. Anne Merewood said that while the results of the study were a little unsettling in some respects, they were also quite easily explainable.

 

“I’m English and I’ve been drinking tea since I was a very small child,” she said. “It’s a cultural thing, they just feed the baby what everyone else is eating.”

 

Of course, the bigger picture is what’s of most importance to the medical community as a whole which seems to share the same consensus when it comes to drinking coffee from an age deemed too young. The problem being that when coffee in moderate to large doses is introduced to a child who still has a great deal of growing and developing to do, it has the potential to lead to a variety of health complaints ranging from insufficient sleep to depression to diabetes.

 

As far as experts are concerned therefore, too young is too young and common sense should be relied upon when it comes to sharing everyday foods and drinks with kids.

 

At the same time, a separate study was carried out which brought to light evidence that older teens are today drinking around twice as much coffee as the same age group was in the late 90s. While some have suggested that this points to a rather alarming spike in ‘caffeine addiction’ a more grounded group of experts insists that it’s simply a case of coffee culture having exploded across countries like the UK and the US.

 

What’s more, the fact that so many incredible discoveries have been made over recent months with regard to regular coffee intake technically means that this acceleration in teen coffee consumption is nothing but a good thing.

 

The same of course not being said for giving coffee to toddlers on a regular basis – a habit which for the time being doesn’t seem to be making its mark on the UK.