Soda jerk

Soda’s bad influence extends way further than a few extra pounds. And every extra can comes at a steep and very disturbing cost.

Researchers from Columbia, Harvard, and University of Vermont recently assessed the soft drink consumption of nearly 3,000 five-year olds from 20 large, U.S. cities. Findings revealed that nearly half of the kindergarteners drank at least one soda per day—while 4 percent drank four sodas or more on a daily basis.

But that’s not even the worst news.

Analysis also showed that soft drink consumption was linked with significant increases in aggression, social withdrawal, and attention problems. (That’s after adjusting for obvious sociodemographic risk factors like depressed mothers, domestic violence, and parents in jail.)  And aggressiveness worsened with every increase in soda intake.

In fact, five-year-olds who drank four or more sodas daily were more than twice as likely to develop serious behavior problems—like property destruction, starting fights, and physically attacking others.

This new study appeared in the Journal of Pediatrics. And the take-home message couldn’t be any clearer. You want violence out of the schools? You can start by getting soda machines out the hallways.


“Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Weight Gain in 2- to 5-Year-Old Children.” Pediatrics. 2013 Aug 5.

“Soft Drinks Consumption Is Associated with Behavior Problems in 5-Year-Olds.” J Pediatr. 2013 Aug 19.