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Daily intake of soft drinks is associated with symptoms of anxiety and depression in Chinese adolescents

  • Xingyu Zhang (a1) (a2) (a3) (a4), Xiaoyan Huang (a2) (a3) (a4), Yi Xiao (a2) (a3) (a4), Danrong Jing (a2) (a3) (a4), Yuzhou Huang (a2) (a3) (a4), Liping Chen (a2) (a3) (a4), Dan Luo (a1), Xiang Chen (a2) (a3) (a4) and Minxue Shen (a2) (a3) (a4)...



The association of soft drink consumption with mental problems in Asian adolescents has not been reported. The present study aimed to investigate the association of soft drink consumption and symptoms of anxiety and depression in adolescents in China.


A cross-sectional study to investigate the association of intake of soft drinks and sugars from soft drinks with symptoms of anxiety and depression measured by the two-item Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD-2) and the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-2), respectively.


A comprehensive university in Changsha, China.


Newly enrolled college students in 2017.


In total, 8226 students completed the investigation and 8085 students with no systemic disorders were finally analysed. Students consuming soft drinks ≥7 times/week had significantly higher (mean difference; 95 % CI) GAD-2 (0·15; 0·07, 0·23) and PHQ-2 (0·27; 0·19, 0·35) scores compared with those barely consuming soft drinks, adjusted for demographic and behavioural factors. Those consuming >25 g sugar/d from soft drinks had significantly higher GAD-2 (0·11; 0·04, 0·18) and PHQ-2 (0·22; 0·15, 0·29) scores compared with non-consumers. The mediation effect of obesity in the associations was not clinically significant.


Adolescents consuming soft drinks ≥7 times/week, or >25 g sugar/d from soft drinks, had significantly higher levels of anxiety and depression. Dietary suggestion is needed to prevent anxiety and depression in adolescents.


Corresponding author


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