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Obviously, giving kids sweets leads to a life of crime

October 3, 2009 |  7:13 am

Truffles Sometimes a study comes along that is just so ... well, words fail me. Let's turn to the researchers' words instead.

The introduction, from researchers at Cardiff University in the United Kingdom, states: "We hypothesise that excessive confectionery consumption increases the likelihood of violence in adulthood."

Seriously.

To test this hypothesis, the researchers used the British Cohort Study to obtain information on the frequency of sweets consumption at age 10 and on violence convictions by age 34.

They found that 69% of people convicted of violence had in fact eaten sweets nearly every day when they were younger. Only 42% of those who had been nonviolent until age 34 reported such daily consumption.

The study concludes: "One plausible mechanism is that persistently using confectionery to control childhood behaviour might prevent children from learning to defer gratification, in turn biasing decision processes towards more impulsive behaviour, biases that are strongly associated with delinquency. Furthermore, childhood confectionery consumption may nurture a taste that is maintained into adulthood, exposing adults to the effects of additives often found in sweetened food, the consumption of which may also contribute towards adult aggression. Moreover, although parental attitudes were associated with adult violence, the effect of diet was robust having controlled for these attitudinal variables. Irrespective of the causal mechanism, which warrants further attention, targeting resources at improving childhood diet may improve health and reduce aggression."

I'm not making this up. Here's the study. It was published in the October issue of British Journal of Psychiatry.

-- Tami Dennis

Photo: Please! Be careful with those things. Credit: Bryan Chan / Los Angeles Times

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