Have you been scared enough yet to finally put down that soda? If not, this news might be enough to convince the moms and dads out there: a new study from Columbia University has linked soda to violent, aggressive behavior in children as young as 5 years old.
Researchers studied more than 3,000 moms and their kids to observe their habits, CNN reports; the moms were instructed to self-report how much soda the children drank on a typical day, and then share behavioral observations. From the study (published in the Pediatrics journal), children who drank four more servings of soda per day were twice as likely to "exhibit violent behavior" than children who drank no soda. What does that entail? CNN shares: "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 The kids were also more likely to have trouble paying attention to instructions, and were more withdrawn socially compared to 5-year-olds who didn’t consume soda."
Although the study relied on self-reporting, the association between agressive behavior and soda was still there, even after adjusted for factors like exposure to violent TV shows and movies, sleeping habits, candy consumption, and other socio-economic factors. "With every increase in soda consumption, we saw an increase in behavior problems," said Shakira Suglia, study author and associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University to CNN. "It was significant for kids who consumed as few as one serving of soda per day." Naturally, the American Beverage Association responded to the study and said it was "a leap" to link aggressive behavior to soda consumption.