Coffee is to be banned at all South Korean schools, even for teachers, as part of a government campaign to promote healthier living.

The country's Ministry of Food and Drug Safety announced the decision this week, saying it would be enforced in primary, middle and high schools from September 14.

The ministry said the move aimed to tackle the side-effects of consuming too much caffeine, including dizziness, a rapid heartbeat, sleep disorders and nervousness. It warned that repeated caffeine consumption could harm a young child's physical and mental health.

"The revision aims to create healthy eating habits among children and teenagers," a ministry official said. "We will make sure coffee is banned at schools without fail."

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Under the current law, products high in calories or caffeine or low in nutrition are already restricted or banned on school premises.

However, coffee has been classified as an adult beverage and has been sold in school vending machines which are readily accessible to students.

There are fears that students may be drinking coffee to help them cope with long hours of study and stress.