Everyone in the FoodFacts.com community is very familiar with our view of soda. We don’t like it. There are quite a few different reasons and we can name some of them readily – high fructose corn syrup, sodium benzoate, phosphoric acid, artificial colors, artificial flavors, aspartame, acesulfame potassium and those really are just a few. Trust us, we could go on and on. Sodas offer no nutritional value and a myriad of possible problems. And today we read a new study that has just added a new possible problem to an already long list.
It appears that soda may cause young children to become aggressive and develop attention problems, according to a study published in The Journal of Pediatrics.
Researchers from the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University, the University of Vermont and Harvard School of Public Health, studied around 3,000 children aged 5.
All children were enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study – a cohort study that follows mothers and children from 20 large cities in the US.
The researchers asked the mothers of the children to report their child’s soft drink consumption. Their child’s behavior in the 2 months prior to the study was reported through a “Child Behavior Checklist.”
Just over 40% of the children consumed a minimum of one serving of soft drinks a day, while 4% consumed four or more soft drinks a day.
The study results found that any level of soft drink consumption was linked to higher levels of aggressive behavior, as well as more attention and withdrawal problems.
Compared with children who did not consume any soft drinks, those who had four or more soft drinks a day were over twice as likely to:
• Destroy other people’s belongings
• Physically attack others, and
• Get into fights.
Dr. Shakira Suglia, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health, says: “We found that the child’s aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day.”
The study authors say there has been a lot of research on the effects of soft drinks in adults. But the relationship between soft drinks and child behavior has not been closely evaluated until now.
They note that although their study has been unable to identify exactly why soft drinks can cause these behaviors in children, they recommend that limiting or abolishing a child’s soft drink consumption could combat this issue.
FoodFacts.com looks forward to more detailed studies that focus on a possible causal relationship between children’s soda consumption and aggressive behavior. Drinking soda has been linked to diabetes and heart disease. It is considered a major contributor in the obesity crisis. And it adds nothing to our health and well-being. Those statements alone are good enough reasons to keep sodas away from our children. This study certainly points out additional problems with small children and soda consumption. Children require a healthy beginning in order to encourage healthy habits throughout their lifetime. Let’s help them get the healthy start they all deserve.