Students dependency on the buzz of coffee increases
The percentage of young adults who consume coffee within a two-week period has increased in the past 10 years.
Students are becoming more dependent on caffeine to balance their rigorous study habits and improve their everyday moods. The growing lines at Starbucks are expected, but students’ health is at risk.
Research conducted by the National Purchase Diary shows that 18- to 24-year-olds are turning to coffee instead of caffeinated beverages. The percentage of young adults who drink coffee at least once in a two-week period increased from 25 percent in 2002 to 39 percent by 2012.
The study linked coffee to a decreased risk in depression and dementia, but its underlying health risks are severe.
The physician at the Student Health Center, Dr. Gwendolyn Lee-Dukes, cautioned students about the over-use of caffeine and said the lack of caffeine can cause withdrawal symptoms.
“Fortunately, we have not had any coffee-related incidents here at UH, but too much caffeine can lead to anxiety, heart palpitations, nausea, vomiting and even cardiac arrest,” Lee-Dukes said. “Recent data shows that in 2005, there were 1,000 emergency room visits reportedly linked to energy drinks, and the 2009 data shows this number was increased to 13,000.”
Most students believe coffee and caffeine to be beneficiary. Education junior Angel Chan began drinking coffee her freshman year of high school and continues to drink coffee every day.
“If I don’t drink coffee, I feel very unaware and sluggish,” Chan said. “Coffee immediately perks me up and gives me the energy to get through the day. It makes me a nicer person too.”
In the Cougar Grounds Coffee Shop, hotel and restaurant management junior Ha Nguyen prepares coffee and takes orders for hundreds of customers.
“Our peak times are from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and also at noon Monday through Thursday when the lines stretch around the corner,” Nguyen said. “By the end of the day, we have taken over 500 orders, and more than half is for coffee.”
The number of orders fluctuates depending on the weather, Nguyen said, but even in the summertime, students buy iced coffee.
The sharp increase of coffee consumers in the last century has led to several extended coffeehouse hours, and Lee-Dukes believes that the increase is influenced by societal trends.
“In the late ’60s and ’70s, coffeehouses were in abundant supply with poetry and music, providing a great meeting point for students, and I sense the same sort of ambiance in our current coffee shops,” Lee-Dukes said. “Starbucks and several other coffee retailers have made coffee and tea ‘cool’ again.”