Caffeine: How Much is Too Much?
Running Time: 22 Minutes
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Many teens readily consume caffeinated drinks: coffee, tea, colas, energy boosters, caffeinated sports drinks, and more. Many teens also use powdered caffeine or energy shots to boost energy for all-nighters, performances, competitions, or exams. But most teens do not know that caffeine is a neuro-stimulant that can cause overdose poisoning or even death. This program takes a look at the pros and cons of caffeine use and teaches viewers to understand whether or not they are in the danger zone for caffeine overuse or even dangerous overdose.
© Human Relations Media
video, plus 28-page teacher’s resource book, student handouts and pre/post tests in digital format
Caffeine is such a huge part of our culture that many barely give it any thought. However, it not only is a stimulant but has mildly addictive properties. In this video, the teen hosts, Hollis and Nathaniel, provide a lively and engaging dialogue about teen perception of the drug. They start with how accepted it is and then proceed to discuss the explosion of caffeinated products, focusing particularly on energy drinks, and popular soft drinks. They go on to discuss its effects, the suggested daily dosages in comparison to what is actually contained in energy drinks, and how easily teens can overdose. The hosts examine side effects as well as the biochemical consequences caffeine has on the brain, cardiac system, and kidneys. In addition, they point out the prevalence of advertising for caffeinated drinks in sports programs aimed at the 13-25 age group. They also address the extremely dangerous effects of unregulated powered supplements, many of which have very high caffeine levels and which can be easily purchased. They note that there are documented cases of teens dying from too much caffeine. Interspersed throughout are interviews with medical, health, and fitness experts. VERDICT This is a good balanced presentation that would be a good educational tool for schools and youth organizations.
—John R. Clark, formerly with the Hartland Public Library, ME
School Library Journal
Coffee, soft drinks, and other caffeinated beverages seem harmless, right? Yet there are new products on the market – unregulated – which can have severe health effects and even be deadly. In this instructional film, aimed at the prime audience for energy drinks, the dangers of caffeine receive a hard look and explanation.
Two teens act as hosts for the film, accompanied by other adolescents who talk to the camera, ensuring the appeal of peer-to-peer information. In addition, experts such as a doctor, counselor, and personal trainers provide the necessary expertise. This verbal information is enhanced by appealing visuals, mainly in the form of scenes: of teens drinking, drinks being poured, caffeinated products, and active young people. If viewers of the film were not aware of the medical facts on caffeine before the film, they certainly will be after. The doctor explains the negative effects on the heart and brain, while the script includes much information on how and why caffeine is addictive and how it can kill even though it is not seen as a harmful substance.
This film is fast-paced, with quick edits and colorful visuals. Some graphics appear: words over photos and questions on a “blackboard,” plus statistics. Clear sound permeates the film through the voices and the energetic background music. This production is designed to speak to its target audience – those who consume energy drinks or any type of caffeine – and it does this effectively.
Because of the subject matter and presentation, this film would be ideal for junior high and high schools, especially classes where health and nutrition are studied. College students may also find it of interest, although the age of the adolescents in the film skews more toward high school. But college classes for future teachers or counselors may find the film useful. Public libraries may also want to purchase for their DVD collections, as this is a popular topic about popular drinks.
A Teacher’s Resource Book is included as a PDF file; it contains learning objectives, National Health Education Standards for grades 6-8 and 9-12, pre/post-tests, fact sheets, and student activities.
—Mary Northrup, Metropolitan Community College-Maple Woods, Kansas City, Missouri
Educational Media Reviews Online (EMRO)