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Revista Española de Nutrición Humana y Dietética

versão On-line ISSN 2174-5145versão impressa ISSN 2173-1292


TORRES-UGALDE, Yeyetzi Citlali; ROMERO-PALENCIA, Angélica  e  ROMAN-GUTIERREZ, Alma Delia. Physiological and cognitive effects of caffeine in childhood: a systematic review of the literature. Rev Esp Nutr Hum Diet [online]. 2020, vol.24, n.4, pp.345-356.  Epub 25-Out-2021. ISSN 2174-5145.


Caffeine is the most widely consumed psychostimulant worldwide. Its use among children is controversial: although it produces an increase in brain activity, it could hamper growth and development in young consumers. The objective of this review was to identify the physical and cognitive effects of caffeine consumption in children.

Material and Methods

The search engines used were EBSCO, ScienceDirect, PubMed and Clarivate Analytics. Eligible subjects were under 12 years of age with intake or administration of caffeine and who manifested physical or cognitive changes.


Out of the 5,453 articles initially found, 20 experimental or observational studies (cross-sectional and longitudinal) were selected for this review, following the PRISMA methodology.


The results obtained show that the consumption of caffeine in this population could cause alterations in growth, producing alterations in the sleep cycle due to interference in the secretion of growth hormone. On the other hand, cognitive performance was better in children with a history of caffeine citrate use in apnea of prematurity. In paidopsychiatric disorders, evidence was found that caffeine produces a better distribution of brain energy, although it may exacerbate symptoms in ADHD and autism.

Palavras-chave : Caffeine; Child; Child, Preschool; Infant; Growth and Development; Risk Assessment.

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