Is soda making your kids aggressive?

We don’t generally keep soda in our home except for ‘special events’.  Our children usually use that reason when asking to drink soda in our home or when we are out.  “But mom, it’s a special occasion!” We have all heard the importance of limiting soda consumption for health reasons such as weight loss, artificial sweeteners, and tooth decay in young children. You may have also heard of the recent change at Dayton Children’s to also eliminate the sale of sugar-sweetened drinks.

But recently another study caught my eye. This study links soda consumption to aggressive behavior in young children.

A cohort study of almost 3000  five year-olds showed that those who drank one to four servings of soda per day had significantly higher aggressive measurement scores than their peers who drank no soda. Those who consumed four or more daily servings of soft drinks had a higher chance of aggression, attention problems, and withdrawal compared with those who consumed no soda.   Further analyses showed that the children who consumed the highest levels of soda were more than twice as likely to destroy others’ belongings, physically attack people, or get into fights. “In this large sample of 5-year-old urban US children, we found strong and consistent relationships between soda consumption and a range of problem behaviors, consistent with the findings of previous studies in adolescents,” says the study.

Certainly water or milk is more nutritious and a better alternative. For the very young kids, any soda is not a healthy option. For adolescents, parents should limit the amount of soda their kids are drinking.   Obviously it is hard to control what they drink when away from our watchful eye, but healthy habits are learned at a young age and we can only hope our children will emulate behavior that we as parents approve of!

The authors note that past research has shown that even one soda per day is too many for young children and more importantly, more soda per capita is sold in the United States than in any other country.  This is something serious to consider for our own health and the health of our children.

Reference

J Pediatr. Published online August 15, 2013. Full article

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