Study: Soda consumption in children could lead to violent behavior

7:32 AM, Aug 19, 2013   |    comments
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ATLANTA (CBS Atlanta) - Many in the health and medical fields have rallied for a reduction in youth consumption of sugary beverages such as soda. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta is one of those agencies calling for healthier drink options for children throughout the nation.

"Results from the 2010 National Youth Physical Activity and Nutrition Study ... a school-based survey that collected information on physical activity and dietary behaviors among a nationally representative sample of high school students ... underscore the need to reduce consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages," researchers wrote on the CDC's official website.

But while a large amount of concern is due to the negative physical effects of drinking soda and other sugar-heavy beverages, a new study shows that soda consumption in children could also have negative mental and emotional effects.

CBS News is reporting that the results of a collaborative study between researchers from Columbia University, Harvard University and the University of Vermont indicated a significantly higher likelihood of physically hurtful or damaging behavior in children who drank the highest amounts of soft drinks.

For the study, 3,000 children from 20 major cities throughout the United States were tracked since their births, with their beverage consumption habits and behaviors chronicled through surveys completed periodically by their mothers.

Researchers found that over 40 percent of the children involved in the study enjoyed at least one soft drink per day, while just 4 percent had four or more in a given day.

These figures then allowed the team involved in the study to figure out that increasingly larger amounts of sugary beverages lead to behavior problems such as aggression or problems with paying attention, CBS News learned.

"We found a significant relation with soda consumption with the overall measure of aggression and with the three specific behaviors we felt were most indicative of aggression: destroying things belonging to others, getting into fights and physically attacking people," wrote the authors in a written statement obtained by CBS News.

They added, while recommending reductions in soda consumption, "Soft drinks are highly processed products containing carbonated water, high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sodium benzoate, phosphoric or citric acid, and often caffeine, any of which might affect behavior."

The study was published earlier this month in The Journal of Pediatrics.

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