Children of Kosovo Ashkalli minority drink during ribbon-cutting ceremony for their new home in central Kosovo

Sipping a can of coke has been linked to behavioural difficulties in young children, according to new research.

Findings published by The Journal of Pediatrics showed that soft drinks have been associated with aggression, attention problems and withdrawal in children as young as five.

Although the links between soft drinks and aggression, depression, and suicidal thoughts in adolescents has been well established, little was known about the effects it had on younger children until now.

Shakira Suglia, ScD, and colleagues from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, the University of Vermont, and Harvard School said that even after adjusting the figures to take other factors into consideration such as socio-economic status, maternal depression, intimate partner violence, and paternal incarceration, consuming soft drinks was still shown to have resulted in increased aggression.

Although this study cannot identify the exact nature of the association between soft drink consumption and problem behaviors, limiting or eliminating soft drinks may go some way in helping to improve the behaviour of the children in question.

Dr. Suglia, said: “We found that the child’s aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day.”

Children who drank four or more soft drinks per day were more than twice as likely to destroy things belonging to others, get into fights, and physically attack people. They also had increased attention problems and withdrawal behavior compared with those who did not consume soft drinks.

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