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To drink, or not to drink? Caffeine craze hits hard at South

Posted By Amrita Rao On December 23, 2009 @ 12:28 am In Features | Comments Disabled

A senior looks at the clock, 8:24 am. Nine minutes until the end of A Block. Nine minutes until freedom. Sitting in her first class of the day, BC Calculus, her eyes glaze over as she tries hard to focus on the convoluted derivatives in front of her.

All she can do, however, is think about how tired she is and how badly she wants a Venti non-fat soy latte. She looks over at the clock again. 8:34 A.M. The seconds hand rounds the 6, and she counts down the seconds until the end of A block. 3…2¦1¦The bell sounds, and students shuffle out of the classroom.

She and her friend make their way straight to the car. She turns the key in the ignition and the engine revs. Before slipping the clutch into drive, she turns to her friend and asks, “Starbucks or Coffee Corner?

Goodbye, hot chocolate. Hello, mocha frappuccino.

Every year more students leave school during free blocks and lunches to get coffee, raising concern among parents and teachers who are worried that this habit may lead to serious health implications.

The number of teen coffee drinkers has increased by 25 percent in the past two years, as cited by Dr. Mallika Marshall, medical reporter for WBZ TV.

In a poll conducted of 50 students, 19 students reported that they go out to get coffee four to five times per week. An additional five students said that they drink coffee over five times a week. Assuming that the poll is representative of the school’s student body, roughly 50 percent of students are consuming coffee four or more times a week.

“I’ve noticed just this school year that more and more high school students are coming in [to Starbucks] after school or during free blocks, Jeremy Boviard, a Starbucks employee and South alumnus, said.

Boviard notes that since he started working at the Starbucks in Waban in November 2007, he has seen a real change in the popularity of coffee with teens.  But what is causing this surge in coffee drinking?

Many teens go out and buy coffee for social reasons. Some believe that carrying around coffee at school is a symbol of coolness or popularity.

Teens may drink coffee to emulate older, more “sophisticated people, who are often the heaviest coffee drinkers, according to Boviard.

“There are girls who don’t even know what’s in a latte, but are ordering them just for the sake of it, he said.

Students may also see coffee as a way of labeling themselves for their peers. To be sure, there are some students who genuinely enjoy drinking coffee and do not consider their social image every time they step up to the counter at their favorite café or pour out their usual cup of Joe.

Trying to fit in is not always a bad thing, but some students are going out of their way to do something they don’t actually like and spending much valuable time, money, and effort on maintaining their coffee addictions, or coffee personas.

Many, including parents and teachers, are worried about the health risks that coffee may have on teenagers.

In a 2007 article on the health risks of caffeine, nutritionist and registered dietician Elisa Zied stated that too much caffeine can cause nervousness, insomnia, and high blood pressure. These coffee-related ailments prevail even more in teens and young people with lower body weights.

“Teens are getting addicted to coffee at an age when they can’t really understand the implications of the addiction, which affects them negatively in the long run, South parent Kimberly Thompson said.

Students often understand the risks of drinking too much coffee, and some try to control their addictions.

For a few unlucky teens, however, the addiction can rampage out of control and cause dependency.

They, however, are only teens in a mass of others that face a serious choice: to drink coffee or not to drink coffee. What will you decide?

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Article printed from Denebola: http://www.denebolaonline.net

URL to article: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/12/23/to-drink-or-not-to-drink-caffeine-craze-hits-hard-at-south/

URLs in this post:

[1] Caffeine Compulsion: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/caffeine-compulsion/

[2] A lower drinking age: dangerous risk or safe alternative?: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/09/24/a-lower-drinking-age-dangerous-risk-or-safe-alternative/

[3] Starbucks: to pay, or not to pay?: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/starbucks-to-pay-or-not-to-pay/

[4] Too loco Four Loko: ban sparks controversy: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/12/06/too-loco-four-loko-ban-sparks-controversy/

[5] What I carry to the movies: http://www.denebolaonline.net/2008/11/26/what-i-carry-to-the-movies/

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