Suglia 2013: Soft drinks consumption is associated with behavior problems in 5-year-olds

The Journal of Pediatrics. 163(5); 1323-1328.

The authors here attempted to determine the effect, if any, of soda consumption on aggressive behavior, attention problems, and withdrawn behavior among 5-year-olds.  Similar studies on older children had determined that consuming soft drinks is associated with aggression, depression, suicidal thoughts and suicidal behavior, but this is the first such study on children this age.

In spite of a lack of a standard serving size, the authors were able to determine that in this sample of almost 3,000 5-year-old children in the US, almost half consumed at least one serving of soda per day, with 4% consuming 4 or more servings per day. 

QUOTE:  “We found a significant relation with soda consumption with the overall measure of aggression and with the three specific behaviors we felt were most indicative of aggression:  destroying things belonging to others, getting into fights and physically attacking people.”

It was interesting that the authors commented that in this study, fruit juice consumption was associated with lower levels of aggressive behavior, while candy consumption was associated with higher levels of aggressive behavior.

NOTE:  Food coloring is also mentioned in the Discussion section as a potential negative influence on child behavior, but the sodas consumed were not differentiated by food dye, sugar, or caffeine content.

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