Sugar rush or sugar crash? Experimental evidence on the impact of sugary drinks in the classroom

F. Schiltz*, K. De Witte

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Sugary drinks in schools have been demonized for their potential long-term contribution to rising obesity rates. Surprisingly, there is only little evidence on the immediate effects of sugary drinks in schools. This paper provides experimental evidence on the in-class effects of sugary drinks on behavior and student achievement. We randomly assigned 462 preschool children to receive sugary drinks or artificially sweetened drinks and collected data before and after consumption. Our findings suggest that the consumption of one sugary drink induces an initial “relaxing” effect for boys, before making them more restless. Girls' behavior is not significantly affected. We find a negative effect on student achievement for boys and a positive effect for girls. We show the robustness of the results across two field experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-232
Number of pages18
JournalHealth Economics
Volume31
Issue number1
Early online date2 Nov 2021
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Keywords

  • experimental evidence
  • health economics
  • student achievement
  • student behavior
  • sugary drinks
  • LEVERAGING BEHAVIORAL ECONOMICS
  • SWEETENED BEVERAGES
  • GLYCEMIC INDEX
  • COGNITIVE FUNCTION
  • CHILDREN
  • BREAKFAST
  • CONSUMPTION
  • CHILDHOOD
  • GLUCOSE
  • WEIGHT

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