Five Soft Drinks A Week Can Lead To More Teenage Violence
October 25, 2011

Five Soft Drinks A Week Can Lead To More Teenage Violence

A new study suggests that teens who drink more than five cans of soft drinks a week are significantly more likely to behave aggressively.

The researchers studied 1,878 teens from 22 public schools in Boston, Massachusetts who were part of the Boston Youth Survey.

The teens were asked how many carbonated non-diet soft drinks they had drank over the past seven days.

The team then divided the responses up into two groups, those drinking up to four cans over the preceding week and those drinking five or more. 

The team looked at potential links to violent behavior in the group by asking if they had been violent towards their peers, a sibling, or a partner.

Responses were assessed in the light of factors likely to influence the results, including age and gender, alcohol consumption and how much sleep they had the night before.

The study found that those who drank 5 or more cans every week were more likely to have drunk alcohol and smoked at least once in the previous month.

The results also showed that heavy use of carbonated non-diet soft drinks were associated with carrying a gun or knife and having a violent attitude towards peers, family members and partners.

The researchers found that 23 percent of those drinking one or no cans of soft drinks a week carried a gun/knife, while 43 percent of those drinking 14 or more cans carried a weapon. 

Twenty-seven percent of the participants who said they drink 14 or more soft drinks a week showed more violence towards a partner as well.

The team said the probability of aggressive behavior was 9 to 15 percentage points higher for teens who were heavy consumers of non-diet carbonated soft drinks.

"There may be a direct cause-and-effect-relationship, perhaps due to the sugar or caffeine content of soft drinks, or there may be other factors, unaccounted for in our analyses, that cause both high soft drink consumption and aggression," the authors wrote in research published online in Injury Prevention.


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