Teenagers and kids are consuming caffeine at an increasing rate, according to a new government study. Nearly three-quarters of all American teenagers take in products containing caffeine. Over half of toddlers, ages two to five, were reported to be consuming caffeine every day. 

Although young people are drinking less soda, the consumption of energy drinks, tea and coffee is rising. The total percentage of young people consuming caffeine daily, 73 percent, has held nearly steady over the last decade. 
Young people from ages two to 22 were examined in the course of research, covering personal histories from 1999 to 2010. 

During that time, the number of youth reporting soda as their primary source of caffeine declined from 62 percent to 38 percent. Soda still remains the most common source of caffeine for children, even though usage has gone down. During the same period, coffee has increased in popularity from 10 to 24 percent. Part of this may be accounted for by the increasing popularity of sweet coffee blended drinks. Energy drinks, nearly unheard of in 1999, were the primary source of caffeine for six percent of youth in 2010. 

Many health professionals urge parents to keep their children away from drinks and foods containing large amounts of caffeine. According to American Academy of Pediatrics, the stimulant drug can cause increased blood pressure and heart rate in young people. 

Recent research followed on the heels of a similar study, carried out in 2010. William Warzak led a team from the University of Nebraska Medical Center, examining 200 children, between the ages of five and 12. They found five-year-old children often consumed a can of soda a day worth of caffeine. For kids ages 8-12, that dosage tripled. 

"Some children as young as 5 years old were consuming the equivalent of a can of soda a day. Children between the ages of eight and 12 years consumed an average of 109 milligrams a day. [That is] the equivalent of almost three 12-ounce cans of soda." Warzak said

Contrary to popular belief, the 2010 study found no correlation between consumption of caffeine by children and bed wetting. 

Although energy drinks, coffee, tea and soda are the best-known sources of the stimulant, the substance can also be found in gum, jelly beans and other sweet treats. 

The Food and Drug Administration is currently investigating the role caffeine plays on the health of children and young adults. This follows reports of hospitalizations and deaths, possibly caused by the drug.

Researchers from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention designed and managed the study. Details of the research have been published in the medical journal Pediatrics.

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