Caffeine consumption associated with increases in blood pressure in adolescents

CHICAGO Caffeine intake is associated with increased blood pressure in some adolescents, according to an article in the May issue of The Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.

According to the article, the prevalence of hypertension among youth is rising, and African American adolescents have higher systolic blood pressures (the top blood pressure number) than white adolescents. "Caffeine is considered a preventable risk factor for hypertension and cardiovascular disease," the authors write. "It is estimated that 68 percent of boys and 62 percent of girls aged 12 to 17 years drink one or more soft drinks daily and 21 percent of boys and 22 percent of girls consume coffee or tea on a daily basis."

Margaret R. Savoca, Ph.D., of the Medical College of Georgia, Augusta, and colleagues investigated the association between the consumption of caffeinated beverages and blood pressure in 81 African American (32 boys, 49 girls) and 78 white (56 boys, 22 girls) adolescents (average age, 16.4 years). Participants were placed on a sodium-controlled diet for three days, and then asked to select food and drinks from a menu that they would consume for a three-day period. The menu included a variety of breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, and beverage choices. Of the 15 beverage choices, six contained caffeine. There were also ten chocolate items with small amounts of caffeine. Based on their caffeine intake, participants were categorized into three groups: 0-50 milligrams per day of caffeine, 50-100 milligrams of caffeine per day, and more than 100 milligrams of caffeine per day.

The researchers found that the association between systolic blood pressure and caffeine category varied by race. African Americans consuming more than 100 milligrams per day of caffeine (n=11) had higher systolic blood pressure readings than the other two groups. The effect on diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) of the parti

Contact: Toni Baker
JAMA and Archives Journals

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