J Pediatr. 2013 Nov;163(5):1323-8. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2013.06.023. Epub 2013 Aug 19.
Soft drinks consumption is associated with behavior problems in 5-year-olds.
The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study is a prospective birth cohort study that follows a sample of mother-child pairs from 20 large US cities. Mothers reported children’s behaviors using the Child Behavior Checklist at age 5 years and were asked to report how many servings of soda the child drinks on a typical day.
In the sample of 2929 children, 52% were boys, 51% were African-American, 43% consumed at least one serving of soda per day, and 4% consumed 4 or more servings per day. In analyses adjusted for sociodemographic factors, consuming one (beta, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.1-1.4), 2 (beta, 1.8; 95% CI, 0.8-2.7), 3 (beta, 2.0; 95% CI, 0.6-3.4), or 4 or more (beta, 4.7; 95% CI, 3.2-6.2) servings was associated with a higher aggressive behavior score compared with consuming no soda. Furthermore, those who consumed 4 or more (beta, 1.7; 95% CI, 1.0-2.4) soda servings had higher scores on the attention problems subscale. Higher withdrawn behavior scores were noted among those consuming 2 (beta, 1.0; 95% CI, 0.3-1.8) or 4 or more (beta, 2.0; 95% CI, 0.8-3.1) soda servings compared with those who consumed no soda.
We note an association between soda consumption and negative behavior among very young children; future studies should explore potential mechanisms that could explain this association.