Consuming Soft Drinks Associated with Aggression
November 20, 2015
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A study published in the Journal of Pediatrics found that boys and girls who had four sodas a day were more than twice as likely to get into fights, destroy others’ possessions and physically attack people, compared with those who drank other beverages.
The sugar-laden drinks were linked with moodiness and difficulty in concentrating. The girls were as bad as the boys and the more soft drinks a child had, the worse their behavior.
Although soft drink consumption is associated with aggression, depression, and suicidal thoughts in adolescents, the relationship had not been evaluated previously in younger children.
Shakira Suglia and colleagues from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health assessed approximately 3,000 5-year-old children enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study.
Aggression, withdrawal, and attention problems were associated with soda consumption. Even after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, maternal depression, intimate partner violence, and paternal incarceration, any soft drink consumption was associated with increased aggressive behavior.
According to Dr. Suglia, “We found that the child’s aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day.” Although this study cannot identify the exact nature of the association between soft drink consumption and problem behaviors, limiting or eliminating a child’s soft drink consumption may reduce behavioral problems.