Is it time to stomp out soda pop for kids? Researchers who conducted a new study have a clear answer: Yes. And if you think that "just one" soda a day is all right for your child, you're wrong: Drinking even one can of pop daily is linked to aggression, attention problems and other negative behavior in young kids, according to the new research reported in Medscape on August 22.
The researchers evaluated approximately 3,000 five-year-old children. The kids who sipped one to four servings of soda daily scored much higher on tests that measure aggression when compared with the children who abstained from pop. Adding to the evidence against soda for kids: Drinking two or more servings was associated with higher withdrawn behavior, while the five-year-olds who gulped down four or more servings scored higher on tests that measure attention problems.
Think that maybe the study didn't account for other beverages and foods that contain sugar? Wrong. ""This held up even after we adjusted for candy or fruit juice consumption and for a variety of social factors, especially for aggression with the highest level of soda consumption," revealed lead author Shakira Suglia, ScD, assistant professor of epidemiology at the Mailman School of Public Health at Columbia University in New York City.
So what's the message for parents and caretakers of children? Less is definitely more when it comes to nutrition for children. "We were seeing a dose-response effect. So with every increase in soda consumption, the association and the scores basically increased," said Dr. Suglia.
- Try easing your child from soda by offering water jazzed up with slices of fresh oranges.
- Consider purchasing a water bottle decked out to appeal to kids, such as one with mermaids or dinosaurs.
- Try one of the brands that make plain water flavored with natural fruit extract, such as Hint Premium Essence Water.