A half-cup of Joe a day may keep your kids out of the NBA.
A new study published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) suggests that a mere half-cup of coffee each day during pregnancy can shave nearly an inch off your child’s height by the time they reach elementary school.
The study, the result of a collaboration between over ten physicians and researchers, surveyed almost 2,500 children ages 4 to 8 around the United States. Unlike previous, similar studies, which relied on mothers to self-report their coffee consumption, this study used blood samples to determine exact levels of caffeine and its metabolite paraxanthine.
“Though the clinical implications of an approximately 2-cm height difference are unclear, our findings for height are similar in magnitude to those of children whose mothers smoked during pregnancy,” the study revealed.
“We consistently observed shorter height, which has been associated with increased risk of multiple cardiometabolic diseases in both pregnant and nonpregnant individuals.”
The possible co-morbidities include diabetes and obesity. Previous studies also linked moderate coffee consumption during pregnancy to lower birth weight.
While the exact reason why coffee may make kids shorter remains unclear, the study notes that caffeine is a stimulant not metabolized by the fetus that instead accumulates in the tissue.
“It is important to determine whether in utero caffeine exposure has long-term growth implications in offspring,” the study concludes.