According to the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), one out of three children in America is obese, and one of the major culprits is sugary drinks. The average American child consumes about 270 calories from sugary soft drinks and juices each day, which adds up to a total of about 7 trillion calories each year, according to a Harvard researcher.
Now the consumption of sugary drink has been linked to behavioral problems in kids as well.
A new study conducted by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, University of Vermont, and Harvard School of Public Health in The Journal of Pediatrics finds that sugary drink consumption contributes to aggression, attention problems, and withdrawal behavior in young children.
The study concluded that children who consumed four 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 drink soft drinks.
They study assessed approximately 3,000 5-year-old children enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, and followed mother-child pairs from 20 large U.S. cities. The mothers reported their childrens' soft drink consumption and completed a child behavior checklist.
“We found that the child’s aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day,” said Dr. Shakira Suglia.
So parents can help kids cut back by not stocking soda, fruit punch, and other sugary drinks in the house, and making them an occasional treat rather than a daily beverage. Keep a pitcher of water with ice and lemon slices in the fridge, so there’s always a refreshing, healthy beverage ready to drink. Some people may enjoy a small glass of 100% fruit juice as a great way to start the day. After that, juice is just another high-calorie way to get water. Limit the amount of juice you buy, and skip the “fruit drinks,” which are basically flavored sugar water.