Caffeine Hits Teen Boys Harder Than Teen Girls


Here’s a weird little tidbit from a newly released study of kids and caffeine: After puberty, the stimulant’s impact is more pronounced on boys than girls. Not that kids should really be consuming much caffeine at all, period. PUT THAT RED BULL DOWN, YOUNG MAN.

CBS News reports on the findings out of the University at Buffalo. Researchers examined the impact of low doses caffeine on 96 kids—half of them 8 or 9, the other half 15 to 17. Among the older group, caffeine lowered heart rates and increased blood pressure—and the effect was more marked among boys. “This suggests that boys may be more sensitive to the effects of caffeine than girls,” said lead author Jennifer Temple.

But don’t print this article off and tape it to the office coffee maker with a reminder to please use THREE scoops of Folger’s instead of a measly two because goddammit the current recipe is weaksauce and women outnumber men three to one in this company, because researchers added, “individuals would not be able to notice a difference and you certainly could not take one boy and one girl and expect to find differences between them.”

Also interesting: Girls’ responses varied based on their menstrual cycles. So the difference might have something to do with hormones, for instance.

At any rate, the real tl;dr is that even low doses of caffeine do have an impact on kids’ cardiovascular systems. “Although our data do not suggest that this level of caffeine is particularly harmful, there is likely no benefit to giving kids caffeine, and the potential negative effects on sleep should be considered when deciding which beverages to give to kids,” Temple concluded. And it’s not like the average teen’s sleep patterns are, shall we say, well-matched to the school clock.

Another Dr. Buzzkill was even more harsh, telling Today:

“There are lots of things we can’t do because we’re not old enough or mature enough,” said Dr. Kevin Shannon, a professor of pediatric cardiology and director of pediatric arrhythmia at the Mattel Children’s Hospital of the University of California, Los Angeles. “Caffeine should probably be added to that list.”

Shorts that flunk the fingertip test, voting, six cups of coffee in a single day—truly, adulthood is thrilling.

Photo via Twin Design/Shutterstock.

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