According to a report by HealthDay News on Friday, a new study found that kindergartners who drink soda every day may have more behavioral problems than children who live on soda-free diets.
Utilizing data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study, lead author Shakira Suglia and her team analyzed 3,000 5-year-old children from 20 large U.S. cities. The children’s mothers were responsible for self-reporting their child’s soda consumption, as well as filling out a Child Behavior Checklist, which questioned them about symptoms of aggression, withdrawal and attention problems their child may have experienced over a two-month period.
Published in The Journal of Pediatrics, researchers found that children who consume large amounts of soda per day experience more aggression, withdrawal and attention problems. The more soda kids drank, the more likely their mothers were to report that the kids had problems with aggression, withdrawal and staying focused on a task. For instance, children who downed four or more servings of soda per day were more than twice as likely to destroy others’ belongings, get into fights and physically attack people, compared with kids who didn’t drink soda at all.
According to lead author Shakira Suglia, the idea to look at this relationship in children came from a similar study in teenagers.
Experts were quick to stress that none of this proves that soda, itself, is at fault.
"This is a correlation. We're not saying soda causes aggression," said lead researcher Shakira Suglia, an assistant professor of epidemiology at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health in New York City.
Still, Suglia added, there are already reasons to keep children from drinking sugar-laden and caffeinated sodas. "There's no nutritional benefit of soda for children," she said.
Emily Sutherlin is also the Pregnancy Examiner.
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