Effects of Coffee on Teenagers in the United States

Coffee, everyone’s heard of it. You drink it, get a burst of energy, and get work done. Coffee isn’t subjective to any age, religion, country, or gender. It’s a popular drink worldwide, but let’s focus on the USA. In the United States, approximately 40% of teenagers drink coffee every day. With this large amount of teenage coffee drinkers in the United States, how bad can it be?

Some people just like the taste of coffee, but the general reason people drink it is its immediate effects on you, mainly being the energy that comes from it. Having to wake up so early in the morning for school, teens are tired. Their go-to solution is to drink a cup of coffee every morning so they can make it through the day. The caffeine from coffee makes you more alert and less worn out. While these effects can be significant, what are they doing? Drinking coffee as a teenager can create trouble sleeping as well as a lack of concentration. Being young, sleep is essential, so when less of it occurs, it starts to affect the brain. Slowing down the maturing process can cause problems later on in life since your brain is not fully developed. In addition, teenagers, especially the younger ones, are smaller and weigh less than adults, causing the effect to be almost twice as great. This makes it very likely to suffer from common symptoms that coffee can result in, such as nervousness, anxiety, and insomnia. Lastly, teenagers are more vulnerable to addiction, and the constant consumption of coffee disrupts some of the neural connections your brain has to prevent that from happening. The adverse effects of teenage coffee drinking can be severe and life-altering, but the positive impacts can override them.

As previously stated, coffee gives people energy, which can be extremely helpful to students. Whether in the morning to wake yourself up or in the afternoon/night to stay awake while doing homework, 4 out of 10 teens rely on coffee to get them through the day. The benefits it provides sometimes override the negatives. Students, especially in high school, have so much to balance on their tables that the fatigue they commonly experience needs fixing. And that fix for them is coffee. With the energy from coffee, they get more work done and are more productive. Imagine staying up all night studying for a test and then taking the test half asleep. Coffee fixes this problem. On top of that, coffee improves memory. This is an excellent gain for teenagers as they learn so much every week and are expected to remember it all. Coffee can be a great social interaction tool, taking a step away from the educational and work-related benefits. Teenagers don’t always take part in legal or safe activities to have fun. It is common for teens to involve alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, and more in their “fun.” If a group of friends gets coffee together instead, that is a much safer and healthier alternative to hanging out. Yes, there are negatives from coffee to someone’s health, but there are also positives. Many teenagers struggle from depression, and coffee helps fight against it. Another common aspect of teenage life is the need to be skinny or have a perfect body. Coffee burns body fat, so by drinking it, people can be burning fat, basically doing nothing. These beneficial impacts from coffee are the main reason teens ignore the negativities. 

Two Scheck Hillel Community School 11th graders were asked this same question, “Why do you drink or don’t drink coffee?” Natalie Esquenazi replied by saying, “When asked why I drink or don’t drink coffee, I knew my immediate answer. I strictly do not drink coffee. Since I was little, my parents always told me that children should not drink coffee because it isn’t healthy. As I got older and needed the random energy boost, I researched what specifically was terrible about it. The main disadvantage that kept and still keeps me from drinking coffee is its effect on teenage brains. My brain is not fully developed as a 16-year-old girl, and coffee slowing that down further cannot be suitable for me. Also, on the rare occasion that I will have a cup of coffee, It is tough for me to sleep. I am a girl who loves her sleep, so losing some of that is a big turn-off of coffee for me. I can understand why some people drink coffee, but I am just not one of those people.”

On the flip side, student Carolina Benun responded, explaining why she does drink coffee. “Any of my friends know that I LOVE coffee. I have it at least once a day. I’m even making my dad open a coffee shop near where I live so that I could be close. Since I drink so much coffee, people always tell me to stop or drink less because it is bad for me. I’ve looked it up, done my research, and still drink it all the time after all of that. Yes, I love how it tastes, but I drink it more for what it does for me academically. I love to sleep in, so waking up early for school every morning is not for me. I’m always shutting my eyes in class and getting nothing done. Whenever I drink a cup of coffee before school, it’s like I’m a different person. I have all this energy and am productive in all of my classes. I know that there are some negative factors to drinking coffee, especially as a teen, but the positive outweighs the negative, in my opinion. Drinking coffee, my grades are higher, I’m doing all of my homework in a timely manner, and I am always in an upbeat mood.”

Coffee has many positive and negative effects that come with it. Depending on the person, either the harm cancels out the benefits or vice versa. No matter what, though, coffee isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. With its significant consumption rates just with teenagers, the assistance from coffee is too good to pass up on for many. 

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