Professor’s Study Published in American Journal of Preventive Medicine

Juliana Cohen, Sc.D., assistant professor of health sciences at Merrimack, was recently published in the June issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine for her research addressing sugar intake during pregnancy.

The study found that pregnant moms and their offspring should limit added sugars in their diets to protect childhood cognition.

“The aim of our study was to examine associations of pregnancy and offspring sugar consumption (sucrose, fructose) with child cognition,” said Cohen. “Additionally, we examined associations of maternal and child consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), other beverages including diet soda and juice, and fruit with child cognition.”

The study determined that poorer childhood cognition occurred, particularly in memory and learning, when pregnant women or their offspring consumed greater quantities of sugar. Substituting diet soda for sugar-sweetened versions during pregnancy also appeared to have negative effects. However, children’s fruit consumption had beneficial effects and was associated with higher cognitive scores.

Read the full text of the study.

This research was supported by grants from the U.S. NIH (R01 HD34568, K24 HD069408, R01 ES016314).