The future Starbucks customers of America are being indoctrinated very, very young. A new study from Boston Medical Center reveals that "approximately 15 percent of toddlers (age 2) consume as much as four ounces of coffee a day."
The original aim of the study was to analyze "how weight change during a child’s first week impacted body mass index at age 2," says the Boston Globe. After several mothers reported coffee was amongst the fluids they gave to their children regularly, researchers asked a followup question specifically about coffee consumption and found that "among 1-year-olds, the rate of coffee consumption was 2.5 percent. But by the time children reached the age of 2, more than 15 percent were consuming coffee."
The study points out that "while the US has not provided guidelines on coffee consumption for children, previous studies suggest that coffee and caffeine consumption among children and adolescents is associated with depression, type 1 diabetes, sleep disturbances, substance abuse and obesity." A previous study indicated "2-year–old children who drank coffee or tea in between meals or at bedtime had triple the odds of being obese in kindergarten."
The study was conducted on 315 mother-child pairs in the Boston area, though the results could certainly be indicative of patterns throughout the rest of the U.S. The study says the practice of giving kids coffee "could be associated with cultural practices," saying that "infants and toddlers of Hispanic mothers were more likely to drink coffee than those of non-Hispanic mothers" and the coffee was more likely to be given to female children than male children.
Of course, there are probably worse things you could put in your child's sippy cup: A woman was booked on child endangerment charges last month after pouring a margarita into her 2-year-old daughter's sippy cup at a Massachussetts restaurant.