Highlights of January Journal of the American Dietetic Association

12/27/04

Issue includes research on dietary sources of caffeine and supplement use among chronically ill children

The January 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association contains articles and research studies you may find of interest. Below is a summary of some of this month's articles. For more information or to receive a faxed copy of a Journal article, e-mail media@eatright.org.

The Buzz on Caffeine
Coffee gets its perk from caffeine, and so do soft drinks and tea. According to researchers from the University of Vermont and the University of Maryland, these beverages are the top three dietary sources of caffeine among consumers. Using data from the National Continuing Survey of Food Intakes by Individuals, the authors categorized caffeine consumers by age and gender including children and pregnant women, and caffeine sources by food and beverage categories. The researchers found that nearly 90 percent of adults and male teens plus 76 percent of children consumed caffeine. Average caffeine consumption was 193 milligrams per day.

With coffee shops popping up on almost every street corner, it's not surprising that coffee remains the primary source of caffeine for adults. However, the per capita quantity of coffee consumed has decreased over the past 50 years, from 16 gallons per year to 9 gallons. Soft drinks have overtaken tea as the second source of caffeine intake for men aged 18 to 54 and women aged 18 to 34 years. For children aged 2 to 17, soft drinks were the primary source of caffeine. Caffeine consumed from energy beverages, caffeinated water, herbal supplements and medications were not included in this study.

Dietary Supplement Use among Chronically Ill Children
Researchers from the University of Utah surveyed a group of parents with chronically ill children to learn more about the use of prescribed and unprescribed dietary supplements. Nearly two-thirds (62 percent) of parents reported some form of dietary supplement use by their chronically ill children. While many children, especially those with certain illnesses such as cystic fibrosis, were routinely prescribed dietary supplements which can aid children by compensating for malabsorption, 30 percent reported using nonprescribed supplements.

A total of 198 different dietary supplement products were being used including vitamins, minerals, botanicals, amino acids, prebiotics/probiotics and combination products. In the majority of cases, the children's health-care providers were not aware the children were being given unprescribed supplements. Of parents who reported use of nonprescribed dietary supplements, only 20 percent had discussed their use with the child's physician. This creates the potential for adverse drug-herb interactions when the effects of many supplements on growth and development are unknown.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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