Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Food Additives Linked To Hyperactivity In Children, Study Shows

Date:
September 10, 2007
Source:
University of Southampton
Summary:
A major study has shown evidence of increased levels of hyperactivity in young children consuming mixtures of some artificial food colors and the preservative sodium benzoate. The possibility of food colours and preservatives affecting children's behaviour has long been an unresolved question for parents. This significant new research provides a clear demonstration that changes in behaviour can be detected in three-year-old and eight-year-old children.

A study by researchers at the University of Southampton has shown evidence of increased levels of hyperactivity in young children consuming mixtures of some artificial food colours and the preservative sodium benzoate.

The possibility of food colours and preservatives affecting children's behaviour has long been an unresolved question for parents. This significant new research by a team from the University of Southampton's Schools of Psychology and Medicine provides a clear demonstration that changes in behaviour can be detected in three-year-old and eight-year-old children.

The research, which was funded by a 0.75m grant from the Food Standards Agency and is published in The Lancet online today (6 September), involved studying levels of hyperactivity in 153 three-year-olds and 144 eight-year-olds living in the city of Southampton. The children were selected from the general population to represent the full range of behaviour, from normal through to hyperactive, and not for any previous behavioural problems or known sensitivities to particular foods.

The children's families were asked to put them on a diet free from the additives used in the study. Over a six-week period the children were then given a drink each day which either contained one of two mixtures of food colours and benzoate preservative, or just fruit juice - with all the drinks looking and tasting identical.

Hyperactivity is a behaviour indicated by increased movement, impulsivity and inattention. The results of the Southampton study show that when the children were given the drinks containing the test mixtures, in some cases their behaviour was significantly more hyperactive. These results replicate and extend previous FSA-funded research by the team in Southampton.

The research team used a combination of reports on the children's behaviour from teachers and parents, together with recordings of the children's behaviour in the classroom made by an observer, and, for the older children, a computer-based test of attention. None of the participants - teachers, parents, the observer, or the children - knew which drink each child was taking at any one time.

Professor of Psychology, Jim Stevenson, who led the research, comments: 'We now have clear evidence that mixtures of certain food colours and benzoate preservative can adversely influence the behaviour of children. There is some previous evidence that some children with behavioural disorders could benefit from the removal of certain food colours from their diet. We have now shown that for a large group of children in the general population, consumption of certain mixtures of artificial food colours and benzoate preservative can influence their hyperactive behaviour.

'However parents should not think that simply taking these additives out of food will prevent all hyperactive disorders. We know that many other influences are at work but this at least is one a child can avoid.'

The Food Standards Agency is an independent Government department set up by an Act of Parliament in 2000 to protect the public's health and consumer interests in relation to food.

The FSA provides advice and information to the public and Government on food safety from farm to fork, nutrition and diet. It also protects consumers through effective food enforcement and monitoring.

The study 'Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3 and 8/9 year old children in the community': Donna McCann*, Angelina Barrett* , Alison Cooper *, Debbie Crumpler*, Lindy Dalen* , Kate Grimshaw**, Elizabeth Kitchin*, Kris Lok*, Lucy Porteous* , Emily Prince* , Edmund Sonuga-Barke*, John O. Warner***, and Jim Stevenson*

*School of Psychology and ** School of Medicine, Department of Child Health at the University of Southampton, *** now at Department of Paediatrics, Imperial College, London, is published online by The Lancet on Thursday 6 September and will shortly be published in the printed edition.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Southampton. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Southampton. "Food Additives Linked To Hyperactivity In Children, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 10 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070909202847.htm>.
University of Southampton. (2007, September 10). Food Additives Linked To Hyperactivity In Children, Study Shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070909202847.htm
University of Southampton. "Food Additives Linked To Hyperactivity In Children, Study Shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070909202847.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Big Pharma Braces for M&A Wave

Reuters - Business Video Online (Apr. 22, 2014) Big pharma on the move as Novartis boss, Joe Jimenez, tells Reuters about plans to transform his company via an asset exchange with GSK, and Astra Zeneca shares surge on speculation that Pfizer is looking for a takeover. Joanna Partridge reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

How Smaller Plates And Cutlery Could Make You Feel Fuller

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) NBC's "Today" conducted an experiment to see if changing the size of plates and utensils affects the amount individuals eat. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

How to Master Motherhood With the Best Work/Life Balance

TheStreet (Apr. 22, 2014) In the U.S., there are more than 11 million couples trying to conceive at any given time. From helping celebrity moms like Bethanny Frankel to ordinary soon-to-be-moms, TV personality and parenting expert, Rosie Pope, gives you the inside scoop on mastering motherhood. London-born entrepreneur Pope is the creative force behind Rosie Pope Maternity and MomPrep. She explains why being an entrepreneur offers the best life balance for her and tips for all types of moms. Video provided by TheStreet
Powered by NewsLook.com
Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

Catching More Than Fish: Ugandan Town Crippled by AIDS

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) The village of Kasensero on the shores of Lake Victoria was where HIV-AIDS was first discovered in Uganda. Its transient population of fishermen and sex workers means the nationwide programme to combat the virus has had little impact. Duration: 02:30 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins