Communicator (communicator) wrote,

Sweets and violence

Cardiff University study involving 17,500 people found that 10-year-olds who ate sweets every day were significantly more likely to have a violence conviction by age 34
This link between confectionery consumption and later aggression remained even after controlling for other factors such as parenting behaviour, the area where the child lived, not having educational qualifications after the age of 16 and whether they had access to a car when they were 34.
Let us say that this is a true correlation. What might the explanation be? The researchers think it might be caused by a chemical effect of sweets, such as addiction to additives. That seems unlikely to me. They also suggest that giving treats to kids means they don't learn to delay gratification
"Our favoured explanation is that giving children sweets and chocolate regularly may stop them learning how to wait to obtain something they want. Not being able to defer gratification may push them towards more impulsive behaviour, which is strongly associated with delinquency."
That sounds like a lot of hooey. I tried to give my kids treats (not sweets) whenever I could, I didn't make them wait. There's enough frustration in everyday life without adding to it.

Perhaps difficult kids get given sweets a lot to keep them quiet? Parents who don't really know what they are doing give out more sweets because they don't have many other strategies? The social class that eats most sweets is the lower working class, and they are most vulnerable to conviction? Sweet eating is associated with other nutritional deficiencies?

I think the most likely explanation is that people who don't have much fun in their lives, or are most subject to anxiety, are more likely to use sweets to comfort themselves and their children.
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