A joint study carried out by researchers at Columbia University, the University of Vermont and the Harvard School of Public Health, has suggested a link between behavioral problems in five-year-old children and soft drink consumption.
Researchers looked into 3,000 American children in the age group, assessing specific aspects of their behavior through a checklist, comparing the results with the children's pattern of soft drinks consumption, provided by their parents. More than two in five mothers said that their children had at least one serving of soda per day, while four percent reported that their children consumed at least four servings every day. The researchers concluded that as the consumption of soda increased, so did the children's aggressive behavior score.
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The American Beverage Association (ABA) has challenged the results of the study, claiming that they are not based on scientific facts. In a press release, issued in response to the study the association, representing U.S. non-alcoholic beverage manufacturers, stated that linking soda consumption to behavioral problems was "a leap" and pointed out that even the authors of the study themselves admitted that they were unable to identify the exact nature of the association between soft drinks and behavioral problems.
In addition, the ABA stated that the companies it represents follow a policy of not marketing or promoting the consumption of soft drinks to children in the age group that the study focused on.