This week I started my new job, and I really love it so far. It’s a completely different setting. I am now a clinical dietitian, as opposed to counseling in an outpatient setting at WIC. So what exactly does a clinical dietitian do? Well, we work with other healthcare providers to ensure that patients in the hospital are staying nourished. It may be as simple as providing nutritional supplements to help someone who has a poor appetite, or it can be as complicated as feeding an infant by parenteral nutrition (through the veins) after heart surgery.
In this setting, I’ll be recommending a lot of tube feeding, which requires monitoring tolerance of feedings and looking at labs. I’ll also occasionally educate parents on specific diets when it’s time for them to leave the hospital. The change is nice, not to mention I’m now home before 5:00 This will make cooking dinner much easier.
Like many of you may do, I wake up in the morning and crave that coffee cup. In fact, I have a bit of an unhealthy relationship with coffee! Most of us would never even think about giving our children a cup of coffee in the morning, yet research is showing that caffeine intake is increasing in children as young as four years old.
There are currently no recommendations for caffeine intake for children in the United States. Canada, however, recommends no more than 45 mg/day for children ages 4-6 years old. 7-9 year old children are recommended no more than 62mg/day, whereas the recommendation for 10-12 year old children is 85mg/day.
A recent study in the Journal of Pediatrics focused on caffeine intake for American children. 228 surveyed parents reported that their children ages 5-7 years old consume about 52 mg each day, while their 8-10 year olds consume about 109 mg.
These numbers are alarming because caffeine has been found to affect young children in a number of ways. First, the study found that a child who consumes more caffeine also tends to get less sleep. This lack of sleep can cause a child to have problems focusing, which may lead to problems in school and even behavior.
Excess caffeine has also been found to cause increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, upset stomach, and headaches. Keep in mind that energy drinks are not appropriate at this age. They contain large amounts of caffeine, as well as other ingredients that we still don’t know much about. Heavy use of energy drinks can cause serious problems not only for your young child, but also for your teen.
The biggest sources of caffeine for Americans include coffee, chocolate, tea, soda, and energy drinks. So be cautious in the drinks that you’re choosing for your child! And here’s number 6978022 why children shouldn’t be drinking soft drinks.
Have a great week! Thanks for reading