FDA investigates caffeine effects on children

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- The government is looking into how caffeine in the food that children and teenagers eat could affect them in the long run, as the trend of adding caffeine to certain foods keeps on growing.

Doctors say it's common knowledge that caffeine can disturb children’s' sleep patterns, cost them calcium and cause anxiety.

They’re however worried about how it could affect developing cardiovascular systems in kids, as well as their neurological development.

“Caffeine consumption has risen 70 percent in the last decade, which is fairly alarming when you think of what it can do to kids all the way around,” said Registered Dietitian with Sacred Heart Hospital, Susan Miller.

The Food and Drug Administration started looking into it after Wrigley introduced gum with caffeine in it. The company says it's for adults, but parents and doctors are still concerned.

“I think it is a big concern. I think they're starting to sneak things into food more,” said Jenifer Ewer, a parent of a three-year-old from Eau Claire.

“When you start adding to foods that don't naturally have it, such as gum, which kids love; jelly beans it's been added to, you get a little concerned, do we really need this caffeine,” said Dr. Miller.

“Kids that are five or seven, they're just in the store, they can buy their own gum, they don't know what they're getting; they don't know that there is caffeine there,” said Ewer.

Ewer says by the time her daughter is old enough to buy candy and snacks herself, she hopes caffeine will be hard to find on food labels.

“I don't know how long those changes take, but it makes you feel better as a parent that you don't have to watch every single item, and knowing that something they pick out is going to be ok,” added

Dr. Miller says these kinds of investigations can last a decade, but they could also lead to change in caffeine regulations.

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