Soda causes childhood behavior problems, reaps government subsidies

Soda consumption in young kids, a study says, can increase behavior problems. Chalk it up as another argument against drinking the stuff. Still, our government continues to subsidize its production and consumption. 

Benjamin Lesczynski, 8, of New York, takes a sip of a "Big Gulp" while protesting the proposed "soda-ban," outside City Hall in New York in this file photo taken July 9, 2012.

Add this to the long list of reasons to demonize soda: a study published in the Journal Pediatrics says that the beverage contributes to behavioral problems in children as young as 5 years old.

Kids drinking more soda were seen as more likely to physically and/or verbally attack other children and destroy property.

This is a fresh wrinkle, but it adds to a host of existing studies that suggest, among other things, that soda consumption contributes to childhood obesity, lack of nutrition, (and, along with an overall poor diet, contributes to poor academic performance) and can eventually lead to heart disease.

So, we can take it as read that research suggests that soda and children are a bad combination, unless you're angling for fragile, chunky bundles of rage.

You might think, then, that the government has set up a carefully weighed system of subsidies and taxes to support healthy beverages for kids, and made it more expensive (and therefore less desirable) to manufacture and distribute soda.

Not so much.

As it stands, if you want to spend your SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) dollars on soda and other sugary drinks, you're welcome to – although numerous groups are lobbying to stop the government from, in essence, spending billions each year on liquids that actually help drive up health costs.

That's not the only way the government (i.e., the representatives of the public) is subsidizing the drink that does the most to undermine public health (second only to, arguably, alcohol).

Domestic corn subsidies (and sugar tariffs) help ensure that high-fructose corn syrup is profoundly cheap, and therefore a major part of our lives and diets – perhaps nowhere more so than in the cheap, sugary beverages that fuel our days.

Those who advocate a lesser role for soda in our diet don't need to call for new taxes – they can simply work for action against the soda subsidies that already exist and put public money toward a drink that does nothing whatsoever in the interest of the public.

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