We show that sugar-rich diet early in life has large adverse effects on the health and economic well-being of adults more than fifty years later.
Excessive sugar intake early in life led to higher prevalence of chronic inflammation, diabetes, elevated cholesterol and arthritis. It also decreased post-secondary schooling, having a skilled occupation, and accumulating above median wealth.
We identified elevated sugar consumption across lifespan as a likely pathway of impact.
Exploiting the end of the post-WWII rationing of sugar and sweets in 1953 in the United Kingdom, we used a regression discontinuity design to identify these effects.
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