According to recent large European study, daily consumption of 1 or more sweetened carbonated beverages during pregnancy could potentially cause ADHD symptoms in children at the age of 8. The good news is that this relation found between soft drinks and ADHD in children was weak, as only 15%–21% of children had an increased risk of having more than 6 ADHD symptoms.
This conclusion is based on the information from 39.870 mother-child pairs. During the study the women answered 3 questionnaires during pregnancy, of which the second one was a food frequency questionnaire about soft drinks (sugar- and artificially sweetened) consumption. After delivery, questionnaires were forwarded to the family when the child was 6 months, 18 months, and at 3, 5, 7 and 8 years. The purpose of the questionnaires was to evaluate the common health of the child and his/her chance of having ADHD using a standardized ADHD score and as a binary outcome of 6 or more ADHD symptoms vs. 5 symptoms or less.
The results of the study were adjusted for possible factors such as maternal educational level, maternal pre-pregnancy BMI, maternal depression and anxiety, maternal ADHD symptoms, other components of the maternal diet, maternal age at delivery, parity, birth year and season.
Although the results of this observational study suggest that daily consumption of soft drinks by pregnant women might slightly increase the chance of having ADHD symptoms in their children at the age of 8, more research is needed to explore other factors that might contribute to the found relationship.
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