Food additives and behavior in 8- to 9-year-old children in Hong Kong: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Kris Y.W. Lok, Ruth S.M. Chan, Vivian W.Y. Lee, Patrick W. Leung, Man Cynthia Leung, Jason Leung, Jean Woo

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: To test the individual effect of artificial food colorings (AFCs) and a preservative on the behavior of the general Chinese population. Method: One hundred thirty children (70 boys and 60 girls) in Hong Kong with a mean age of 8.64 years were enlisted to the study with a within-subject crossover between AFCs, a preservative (sodium benzoate), and a placebo capsule. Two behavior scores were used including the strengths and weaknesses of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and normal behavior rating scale and the child behavior checklist-teacher report form. Results: Capsule A containing AFCs and Capsule B containing sodium benzoate had no significant adverse effect compared with placebo in both behavior scores. This result persisted when analysis was restricted to children with 85% consumption of capsule (per protocol analysis). Conclusion: There seem to be no significant associations between AFCs and a preservative on Chinese children's behavior at the age of 8 to 9 years. Future directions and implications of this research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-650
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2013


  • ADHD
  • Behavior
  • Child behavior
  • Colorings
  • Food additives
  • Hyperactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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