These results have several implications, as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) symptoms correlate with poor academic outcomes, difficulties with peer relationships, and increased susceptibility of injury in children. Excess sugar consumption also leads to obesity and all of its associated complications.
These findings arise from a survey of 1,649 middle-school students (average age 12.4 years) randomly selected from 12 schools in an urban school district in Connecticut. The students in this study consumed an average of two sugared drinks a day, with some drinking more than seven sugared drinks daily.
Each sugared drink consumed increased the risk of hyperactivity/inattention by 14%; However, when factoring in the different types of sweetened beverages, the researchers found that energy drinks were the driving force behind these risks. The research team also found that boys were more likely to consume energy drinks than girls and that Hispanic and non-Hispanic black boys were more likely to drink the beverages than white boys.
Lead study author Jeannette Ickovics, Ph.D., noted the importance of these last findings, as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is understudied and likely underdiagnosed in minority children.
To learn about one approach to help schoolchildren with ADHD, see the Psychiatric News article “Children With ADHD Benefit From Sleep-Focused Treatment.”