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Is Soda Making Our Children More Aggressive?

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A new study shows soda may not only impact your child's weight, but also their behavior.
They haven't looked at what it is in the soda that's causing that, whether it's the sugar or the caffeine or exactly what is involved.
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A new study shows soda may not only impact your child's weight, but also their behavior.

Kristi Fulnecky is a mother of six and watches what her kids eat and drink closely.

"I've never given soda drinks on a daily basis to my kids," she says. "I just use it as a treat so sure sugar, soda, candy is not good for your kids from what the pediatricians tell us."

She's right. According a new study out of Columbia University, children who drank soft drinks every day were more likely to become violent, hurting other children and destroying things.

Researchers tracked 3,000 children since their births. Nearly 40 percent drank four or more sodas a day. Some who drank just one soda a day even showed more aggressive behaviors.

KOLR10 News spoke to one local pediatrician who said the study is not exactly conclusive.

"They haven't looked at what it is in the soda that's causing that, whether it's the sugar or the caffeine or exactly what is involved," says Dr. Ashley Merrick with Mercy. "But it's a good kind of first step study for more work to be done on it later on."

Researchers said the soft drinks are highly processed, with high fructose corn syrup, aspartame, sometimes caffeine and other not-so-healthy things.

Dr. Merrick encourages parents to stick with water, milk and some juice.

"We always try to stay clear of soda at least in large amounts everything is generally okay in moderation, but you definitely don't want your child to be a daily soda drinker."

Kristi said her kids can only enjoy an occasional soda.

"Maybe once a week I'll let them have a Sprite, but that's all and I don't let them have caffeine."

The American Beverage Association calls the findings a "leap" to suggest soda causes behavioral issues.

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