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Soda Pop and Violence in Children

“Yet another study is warning parents to limit soda consumption with children.” The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, says that soda pop consumption causes aggressive and even violent behavior in children as young as five years old.

The long-term study encompassed “about 3,000 mother-child pairs from 20 large cities in the United States.”  Mothers reported how much soda their child drinks on a typical day. They were then asked to answer a series of behavioral questions.

The results were astonishing. “Children who consumed at least four servings of soda per day were twice as likely than those who didn’t drink any soda to display aggressive, violent behaviors – such as destroying other people’s belongings, starting physical fights and verbally attacking other children. The kids were also more likely to have trouble paying attention to instructions, and were more withdrawn socially compared to 5-year-olds who didn’t consume soda.”

The correlation between the amount or consumption and the aggressive behavior was also significant. “With every increase in soda consumption,” said the researchers from Columbia University, “we saw an increase in behavior problems. It was significant for kids who consumed as few as one serving of soda per day.”

The results were also adjusted for parenting styles, and socio-demographic factors such as how much violent television the children were exposed to, their sleep schedule and candy consumption.

The American Beverage Association was naturally defensive and criticized the study. Though more research needs to be done, the study is intriguing.

The mounting evidence of negative effects of soda consumption has not stemmed Americans from buying and drinking the most soda of any nation on the planet. Some dietitians and health educators recommend avoiding soda all together.

“Sugar is not good for the stomach. It causes fermentation, and this clouds the brain and brings peevishness (irritable, petulant, complaining) into the disposition.” Counsels on Diet and Food, page 327

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