Teen Violence Heavy Soda Diet
October 25, 2011 by staff
Researchers surprised by the link
“It says more about the drinking of beverages”
Authors admit that needed further clarification
SCIENTISTS have reacted with skepticism to a U.S. study has found an association between high soft drink consumption and violence in adolescents.
The study, conducted by the Harvard School of Health, reported high school students who consumed more than five cans of non-food, soft carbonated drinks a week had between nine and 15 percent more likely to participate in a aggressive acts than those who drank less.
It was based on responses to questionnaires completed by 1.878 public school students in the center of the city of Boston from 14 to 18, where crime rates are much higher than in wealthier suburbs.
The vast majority of respondents were Hispanic, African American or mixed, few were Asian or white.
Among the questions that were the number of non-diet carbonated soft drinks, measured in 355 ml cans, teenagers had drunk in the last seven days.
They were also asked if they drank alcohol or smoked, had a weapon or violence to show their peers, family members and spouses.
What emerged, said Professor David Hemenway, was evidence of “dose-response”, in other words, the soft drink was consumed, the more likely the tendency to violence.
Among those who drank one or none of the cans of soda a week, 23 percent carried a gun or a knife, about 15 percent of the violence perpetrated by their partner and 35 percent had been violent with their partners.
At the other end of the scale, among those who drank 14 cans a week, 43 percent carried a gun or a knife, 27 percent had been violent with their partner, and more than 58 percent had been violent their peers.
In general, adolescents who were high consumers of sugar ferment between nine and 15 percentage points more likely to display aggressive behavior compared to consumers low, even when ethnicity and other confounding factors were taken into account.
“What we found was that there was a strong relationship between the number of sodas that these children within the city consumes and how violent it was, not only violence against their partners, but also dating violence, against brothers, “said Professor Hemenway.
“It was shocking to us when we saw that the relationship was clear.”
However, he stressed that only by working more than confirm – or refute – the key question whether a higher consumption of sweet drinks caused violent behavior.
Michael Moore, executive director of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA), said the findings may tell us more about the people who consume a large amount of soft drinks rather than suggest a causal relationship between soda and behavior anti-social.
“The study really calls for more research to understand why intensive soda can be an indicator of bad behavior and what are the social conditions that lead to such heavy use,” he said.
“This study should also consider the impact of alcohol, caffeine and illicit drugs, we know that both an indicator and a causal link.”
Professor Mike Daube, Director of Public Health Advocacy Institute and the Center McCusker Action on Alcohol and Youth said “suggest an exceptional degree of caution in interpreting these results.”
“I’m not sure that in reality is nothing but a lot of people are drinking plenty of soft drinks.”
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