Children as young as five who consume soft drinks every day are more likely to have behavioural problems such as aggression, difficulty in paying attention and social withdrawal, a new research has revealed.Shakira Suglia, ScD, and colleagues from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, University of Vermont, and Harvard School of Public Health assessed approximately 3,000 5-year-old children enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study.Mothers reported their child’s soft drink consumption and completed the Child Behaviour Checklist based on their child’s behaviour during the previous two months.
The researchers found that 43 percent of the children consumed at least 1 serving of soft drinks per day, and 4 percent consumed 4 or more.Even after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, maternal depression, intimate partner violence, and paternal incarceration, any soft drink consumption was associated with increased aggressive behavior.
Children who drank 4 or more soft drinks per day were more than twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people. They also had increased attention problems and withdrawal behavior compared with those who did not consume soft drinks.
The study is published in The Journal of Pediatrics.