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Should Children be drinking coffee?


With the Olympics being staged in Brazil this year, many British sports fans visiting this exotic country may find it hard to understand why children are openly drinking coffee. Children and coffee here in the United Kingdom is generally thought of as a no- no. But is it always such a bad thing? Can children being introduced to coffee at a young age being such a bad thing?

Now we here at UK Vending don’t for a minute suggest that you start giving your toddlers or youngsters coffee’s that will set them off like dynamos; but is it worth considering what other countries do. In South America, the Caribbean and in parts of Africa it is commonplace for coffee to be served to people of all ages. Admittedly the coffee children receive is, usually, a weaker blend; but it is still coffee. Coffee is, for the most part, full of caffeine and other stimulants – that is one of the reasons we all drink it in such vast quantities in the western world. We get a buzz from it, the proverbial shot in the arm that focuses our minds on the work at hand and aids our creativity. So if it works for adults, why should it not work for youngsters too? Also how soon is too soon to start drinking coffee?

A number of recent scientific studies have found a number of health benefits of including coffee in a healthy daily diet. Sufferers of Parkinson’s disease swear by its effects alongside patients suffering from seemingly unrelated conditions such as gallstones, colon cancer and Alzheimer’s. Indeed another recent study conducted by no less an institution that Harvard University suggests that drinking six cups of coffee a day reduced the risk of developing diabetes over those who abstained from drinking coffee at all.

So with all this medical knowledge at our fingertips perhaps the question should be: Why are we not getting our kids to drink coffee?

Dr Thomas DePaulis, is a researcher into the field and believes that coffee could help improve concentration in children particularly in those youngsters who find tests and examinations hard to focus on. Brazilian children who drink coffee with milk are statistically less likely to suffer from depression than European children of a similar age who chose to drink colas and soft drinks instead.

For all the positives there is always some bad. Caffeine is an addictive drug and we as parents should avoid anything addictive in our children’s behaviour or habits. Caffeine is contained in a lot of other things that they will habitually consume such as chocolate and soft drinks but The National Institute of Health state that caffeine consumption in moderation is permissible in both adults and children but should be controlled. The Institute does, however, go further and suggests that as caffeine has no nutritional value it is a good idea to remove it from a child’s diet completely. Caffeine is also known to produce symptoms such as jitters, irritability and hyperactivity and restlessness and high blood pressure.

In Brazil children from around 12 upwards are regularly drinking coffee and it is generally thought that this is around the right time to gradually introduce coffee to children as their bodies have developed enough to cope with the new chemicals rushing around in their bloodstreams. In Britain it is still seen as something of a taboo to have children less than around 16 drinking coffee. Is this a taboo that needs to be broken?



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