Friday, September 6, 2013

Soft Drink Consumption Leads to Behavioral Problems in Young Children

A study in last month's Journal of Pediatrics evaluated approximately 3,000 5-year old children to examine the relationship between soda consumption and aggressive and withdrawal behaviors and attention problems. Soft drink consumptions and behaviors of children were monitored over two months and reported to researchers by the participants’ mothers.

The results showed that aggression, withdrawal, and attention problems were associated with at least one serving of soft drink per day. The association remained significant after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, maternal depression, and parental incarceration. In addition, children who drank four or more soft drinks per day were more than twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, participate in fights, and physically attack people.

“We found that the child's aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day," said Shakira Suglia, Sc.D., lead author and professor at the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. Although the study cannot identify the exact mechanism of the association between soft drink consumption and problem behaviors, limiting or eliminating a a child's consumption of soft drinks may reduce behavioral problems.

For more information on the association of soda consumption and behavioral problems, see the Psychiatric News article "Are Soda-Swilling Teens More Apt to Be Violent?"

(Image: Jeanne Claire Maarbes/


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