Survey shows many Teenagers consume Caffeine daily

By Kaitlyn Resline

Editor-in-Chief

The tired high school student is a troupe played through many novels and movies. The camera zooms in on a student that has just pulled an all-nighter and now has to prepare for school. To make it through the day, the student grabs a cup of coffee on the way out of the house.

The Leonid tested the reality of this troupe in a recent survey about caffeine use.  It turns out, for the majority of those surveyed, caffeine is a real part of their day.

The survey consisted of 408 students at Red Lion Area Senior High School. Freshmen made up 28%, sophomores made up 19.9%, juniors made up 27.3%, and seniors made up 24.8%.

77.7% of students surveyed report that they drink caffeine.

The common types of  caffeine beverages consumed were tea, coffee, energy drinks, and soda. 

“I used to drink coffee because I needed to stay up to do work,” senior Kehnun Sebesta said. “Now I just drink tea because I find it to be more beneficial and less harmful for my body.”

With teens juggling busy schedules and multiple demands at one time, high school students are the fastest growing population of caffeine users, a study conducted by Medical News Today said.

In the study 83.2% of teenagers consumed caffeinated beverages regularly, while at least 96% consumed them occasionally. 

This study was done on a smaller scale than the one at Red Lion, with 166 participants primarily in grades 9 and 10. 

Majority of students in Red Lion reported drinking one to three caffeinated drinks a day while only 9.7% reported drinking four to nine drinks. 

In comparison, the study by Medical News Today “44.6% of respondents drank caffeinated beverages one to six times per week, 11.4% consumed a caffeinated beverage every day, and only 4.8% never consumed drinks containing caffeine.” 

Red Lion student caffeine users are consuming more caffeine than this study.

The Medical News Today study says participants’ main reason for consuming caffeine was to feel alert, which would help them study better.

Similarly, the Red Lion survey found common reasons people drank caffeine was because it tastes good, they wanted to feel more awake, it helped with focus and concentration, and they had to stay up late. 

Mera D’Aquila, a senior at Red Lion, said she drinks caffeine to stay up late and do assignments. She believes it helps her think more clearly when she is only getting four to five hours of sleep a night. 

“Sometimes there will be nights when I have a lot to do,” D’Aquila said. “I’ll tell my mom, ‘can we just please go to Starbucks and get a coffee because I think I’m in the need tonight.’”

D’Aquila thinks she would drink caffeine less if her schoolwork was not so stressful. 

The FDA has cited that 400 milligrams of caffeine a day, or four to five cups of coffee, is not a dangerous amount of caffeine to consume. However, different people have different metabolizing rates of caffeine and respond to the effects differently. 

Common side effects listed by MedlinePlus of consuming too much caffeine includes shakiness, insomnia, headaches, dizziness, rapid heart rate, dehydration, anxiety, and dependency on caffeine. 

Although 80.3% of students report never having any unintended side effects of drinking caffeine, 19.7% report having side effects from caffeine consumption. Among these side effects students listed headaches, shaking, jittering, and nausea. 

Some students said that this happened when they would not consume caffeine for a period of time. 

Caffeine withdrawal can occur when a person consumes caffeine on a regular basis and then suddenly stops. Symptoms of this include headaches, drowsiness, irritability, nausea, and difficulty concentrating. 

The FDA recommends a gradual cut back of caffeine consumption to avoid withdrawal symptoms. If unsure how to do this, a person can talk to their health care provider about how to cut back.

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