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Florida Gulf Coast University

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Kleist Health Education Center

Healthy Tips and Information


Download a PDF version of our Healthy Tips.


Caffeine and Your Child

Soft drinks, tea, chocolate, medicines, energy drinks, coffee, and coffee flavored ice cream, etc...  


Based on average body weight, maximum daily caffeine intake for children between 4 and 12 years is:

  • 45 milligrams for children aged 4 to 6.
  • 62.5 milligrams for children aged 7 to 9.
  • 85 milligrams for children aged 10 to 12.

Please Note: 45mg = One 12-ounce can of soda or four 1.5-ounce milk chocolate bars. This also contains the equivalent of 10 teaspoons of sugar and 150 calories. 


Effects of Caffeine:
Too much caffeine can cause:

  • jitteriness and nervousness
  • upset stomach
  • headaches
  • difficulty concentrating
  • difficulty sleeping
  • dehydration
  • cavities

**At lower levels, it can make us feel more attentive and energetic.

Kids who consume one or more 12-ounce sweetened soft drink per day are 60% more likely to be obese.


Nutritional Deficiencies:
Caffeinated beverages are like empty calories (calories that don't provide any nutrients). Kids who fill up on them don't get the vitamins and minerals they need from healthy sources. In particular, kids who drink too much soda (which usually starts between the third and eighth grades) may miss getting the calcium they need from milk to build strong bones and teeth.

Caffeine Sensitivity:
Effects of caffeine are based on body size, so younger kids are more sensitive because they haven't been exposed to it as much as older kids or adults. Also, their need for more caffeine will increase with age (to reach similar effects).

Healthy Tips:

  • Watch for hidden caffeineby reading the ingredient list on foods and beverages
  • If your teen has been drinking coffee, stress only one cup, even though that can easily turn into several, especially to stay awake during late-night study crams
  • Cut back on caffeine slowly to avoid withdrawal
  • Hit the sack (bed), not the sodas
  • Caffeine In moderation
    • Feel free to let kids enjoy chocolate cake at birthday parties or a small cup of coffee to study for finals. This small amount in moderation won’t affect their sensitivity.


The Kleist Health Education Center provides drug education programs, including tobacco, alcohol, marijuana and energy drinks. For more information on teen decision-making skills consider booking the program “Decisions – It’s Up To You”.


Click here for program pricing or call 239-590-7458 for program scheduling.


girl drinking milk


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10501 FGCU Blvd. South
Fort Myers, Florida 33965-6565
(239) 590-7459