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Can Soft Drinks Make Young Children Aggressive?

Although most people are aware of how unhealthy soft drinks are, American youth and adults continue to consume more per capita than any other country.

Compelling evidence showing why conventional soft drinks don’t belong in the hands of young children came from a study published in the Journal of Pediatrics, titled, “Soft Drinks Consumption is Associated with Behavior Problems in 5-Year-Olds.”

What Research Says

Researchers assessed 2,929 5-year-old children enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a prospective birth cohort that follows mother-child pairs from 20 large U.S. cities.

Of the 2,929 5-year-olds researched:
• 52% were boys
• 43% consumed at least 1 serving of soft drinks per day
• 4% consumed 4 or more servings of soft drinks per day

The Findings

The most alarming findings were in the group of children who drank 4 or more soft drinks per day. These children:

• Were more than 2 times as likely to act out aggressively, get into fights and destroy the property of others.
• Scored higher on the attention problems scale than those who drank less than 4 servings of soft drinks daily.

Additionally, children who drank 2, 4 or more soft drink servings daily also demonstrated withdrawal behaviors, as compared with children who did not consume soft drinks.

Aggression & Soft Drinks

This study’s findings positively linked aggression, attention problems and withdrawal to soft drink consumption in young children. Even after adjusting for sociodemographic factors, maternal depression, intimate partner violence in the home, and paternal incarceration, any amount of soft drink consumption resulted in higher aggressive behavior scores as compared to those who did not consume soft drinks.

What Can You Do?

At Amen Clinics, we know that children (of all ages) LOVE treats. Instead of traditional soft drinks, we suggest a brand called Zevia, which is made from natural ingredients and sweetened with stevia, a much healthier no calorie sweetener.

We Can Help

If you would like to overhaul your family’s dietary habits, schedule a consultation at Amen Clinics. Let our years of experience, creativity, and positive, motivating attitude help you create brain-healthy menu plans that your family will love. Our therapists and coaches are available for consultations both in-person and over the phone. Call us today at 888-288-9834 or tell us more to schedule an appointment.

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