According to a recent study published in JAMA Network Open, children who were exposed to modest doses of caffeine while they were developing were on average shorter than those who weren’t.
Even at levels of caffeine consumption below the clinically advised guidelines of less than 200 mg per day, the authors noted, “the decreases were evident.” “It is unknown what this height discrepancy means clinically, and further research is needed.”
According to the study, the slightly smaller diameters were measured beginning at age 4 and increasing until age 8, “translating to a 0.68 to 2.2 cm difference.”
According to senior author Jessica L. Gleason, PhD, a perinatal epidemiologist, “to be clear, these are not huge disparities in height, but there are these tiny differences in height among the children of people who used caffeine during pregnancy.”
The American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists advises pregnant women to limit their daily caffeine intake to 200 mg.
About 140mg are present in a mug of filtered coffee. Tea, soft drinks, energy drinks, cocoa, and chocolate all contain caffeine.
Children whose moms consumed less than half a cup of coffee each day while pregnant demonstrated the differences seen in the study, according to Gleason.
It’s uncertain if this would lead to persistent height disparities into maturity. Additionally, the study found no evidence of a connection between shorter stature and caffeine intake.
Although it hasn’t always been linked, “shorter height has been linked to obesity and elevated diabetes risk in adulthood,” according to the study.