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Soft Drinks Consumption is Associated with Behavior Problems in Five-Year Olds

  • Shakira F. Suglia

    (Columbia University)

  • Sara Solnick

    (University of Vermont)

  • David Hemenway

    (Harvard University)

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    Recent research suggests soda consumption is associated with aggression and depression among adolescents. However, this association has not been examined among younger children. We examine soda consumption and aggressive behaviors, attention problems and withdrawn behavior among five-year-old children. The Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study a prospective birth cohort study that follows a sample of mother-child pairs from 20 large cities in the US. Mothers reported the child’s behaviors using the Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL) at age 5 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 socio-demographic factors, consuming one (Beta 0.7 95% CI 0.1,1.4), two (Beta 1.8 95%CI 0.8,2.7), three (Beta 2.0 95%CI 0.6,3.4) or four or more (Beta 4.7 95%CI 3.2,6.2) servings was associated with a higher aggressive behavior score compared to consuming no soda. Furthermore, those who consumed four 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 Higher withdrawn behavior scores were noted among those consuming two (Beta 1.0 95%CI 0.3,1.8), or four or more (Beta 2.0 95%CI 0.8,3.1) soda servings compared to those who consumed no soda. We note an association between soda consumption and behavior among very young children; future studies should explore potential mechanisms that could explain this association.

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    Paper provided by Princeton University, Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Center for Research on Child Wellbeing. in its series Working Papers with number 1476.

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    Date of creation: Jul 2013
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:pri:crcwel:wp13-10-ff
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