Fortified coffee to boost kids' nutrition?

Filed under: Health & Safety: Babies, Nutrition: Health, Weird But True, Day Care & Education

American children are not the only lacking proper nutrition in their diets. Children in Mexico need a little help in that department as well and a Houston company has come up with a solution. Voyava Republic has joined forces with the Mexican coffee producer La Selva to deliver folic acid-fortified coffee to underprivileged elementary school students in Chiapas, Mexico.

Apparently, many poor children in that state already drink one or more cups of coffee each day, so why not give them a little nutritional boost along with their caffeine? After all, folic acid is good for kids, right? Yeah, but coffee isn't.

"It doesn't seem like a good idea, given that coffee isn't an adequate drink for children," the Chiapas state health department said in a statement. "It's well known that high levels of caffeine can cause problems like nervousness, irritability and anxiety."

Representatives from Voyava Republic say that fortified coffee is an efficient way to deliver nutrition to malnourished kids. "We don't want to saturate them with coffee," said Jose Juarez, La Selva's director. "One 150- to 200-milliliter cup a day is more than sufficient to give them the nutrients they need."

I think serving coffee to children is a horrible idea. Even if some are already drinking it, I imagine making coffee nutritious would encourage more parents to serve it to their children. Why wouldn't they fortify something that has nutritional value to start with?

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.