Childhood emotional and behavioral characteristics are associated with soda intake: A prospective study in Mexico City

Pediatr Obes. 2020 Jun 18. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12682. Online ahead of print.


Objectives: To evaluate whether childhood emotional and behavioral characteristics are associated with soda intake.

Methods: The study population included 391 Mexico City adolescents enrolled in a birth cohort study. When children were between 6 and 12 years of age, the Behavioral Assessment System for Children (BASC)-2 was administered. Nondiet soda intake was measured concurrently and again when participants were of peripubertal ages via food frequency questionnaire. Linear regression models were run with soda mL/day (cross-sectional and change in soda over time) as the outcome and BASC composite scores as predictors (in separate models), adjusting for confounders.

Results: At baseline, children were 8.3 (SD 1.3) years (49% males). Three scales out of 18 examined had statistically significant associations. Parent-reported adaptive skills were inversely associated with concurrent soda intake (β = -2.29 with 95% CI -4.27 to -0.31). Parent-reported internalizing problems (higher = more problems) were related to higher change in soda intake from childhood to adolescence (β = 5.83 with 95% CI 0.98-10.68; N = 191). Self-reported school problems were associated with a higher change in soda intake over time (β = 9.46 with 95% CI 2.10-16.82; N = 122).

Conclusions: Parent- and self-reported emotional and behavioral difficulties in childhood were associated with soda consumption and changes in soda consumption over time.

Keywords: SSB; comfort eating; mental health; soda.