Oslo teens who drank the most sugary soft drinks also had more mental health problems such as hyperactivity and distress, Norwegian researchers reported on Thursday.
Their study of more than 5,000 Norwegian 15- and 16-year-olds showed a clear and direct association between soft drink intake and hyperactivity, and a more complex link with other mental and behavioral disorders.
They surveyed the students, asking them how many fizzy soft drinks with sugar they had a day, and then questions from a standard questionnaire used to assess mental health.
The teens who reported skipping breakfast and lunch were among the heaviest soft drink consumers, Dr. Lars Lien and colleagues at the University of Oslo found.
Most of the students said they drank anywhere between one and six servings of soft drinks per week.
Those who drank no soft drinks at all were more likely than moderate drinkers to have mental health symptoms, the researchers said. But those who drank the most -- more than six servings a week - had the highest scores.
For hyperactivity, there was a direct linear relationship -- the more sodas a teen drank, the most symptoms of hyperactivity he or she had.
The worst problems were seen in boys and girls who drank four or more soft drinks a day. Ten percent of the boys and 2 percent of the girls drank this much.
Steve - this is such a welcome study. While painfully evident in what we see clinically, there has been so little data connecting sugar and mental health. Results of a study such as this done in the United States would produce numbers much higher because the average diet is much worse than in Norway.