Children’s Soda Consumption Tied to Behavior Problems

(HealthDay News) – Children who consume more soda daily are reported to have higher levels of aggressive behavior, according to a study published online Aug. 16 in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Shakira F. Suglia, PhD, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues analyzed data from the nationally-represented Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a prospective birth cohort study (2,929 children; 52% boys; 51% African-American). Children’s behavior was reported by the mother using the Child Behavior Checklist at the age of 5 years. Mothers also reported how many servings of soda the child consumes on a typical day.

The researchers found that 43% of children consumed ≥1 serving of soda per day and 4% consumed ≥4 servings per day. Even after adjusting for sociodemographic variables, consuming one (β, 0.7), two (β, 1.8; 95%  confidence interval [CI], 0.8–2.7), three (β, 2; 95% CI, 0.6–3.4), or ≥4 (β, 4.7) servings of soda was associated with a higher aggressive behavior score compared to that of children consuming no soda. Children who consumed four or more soda servings had higher scores on the attention problems subscale (β, 1.7). Compared to those who consumed no soda, higher withdrawal behavior scores were seen among those consuming two (β, 1; 95% CI, 0.3–1.8) or ≥4 (β, 2; 95% CI, 0.8–3.1) soda servings.

“We note an association between soda consumption and behavior among very young children; future studies should explore potential mechanisms that could explain this association,” the authors write.

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