Drinking Non-Diet Soda Tied to Violent Behavior Among Teens

Teens who drink more than five cans per week more likely to carry a weapon, behave violently

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Soft drink consumption among adolescents is significantly associated with weapon possession and with perpetration of violence against peers, family members, and dates, according to a study published online Oct. 24 in Injury Prevention.

Sara J Solnick, Ph.D., from the University of Vermont in Burlington, and David Hemenway, Ph.D., from the Harvard School of Public Health in Boston, investigated the association between intake of carbonated non-diet soft drinks and violence perpetration in 1,878 Boston adolescents. Participants were surveyed regarding frequency of non-diet soft drink consumption, and whether they had ever carried a weapon or engaged in physical violence. Associations of these behaviors with soft-drink intake were determined using regression analysis.

The investigators found that chances of having carried a weapon and of violent behavior towards peers, family members, and dates were significantly higher among adolescents who consumed more than five cans of non-diet soft drinks per week (comprising nearly 30 percent of the participants). Even after controlling for gender, age, race, body mass index, usual sleep patterns, tobacco and alcohol use, and having family dinners, frequent soft drink consumption was correlated with a 9 to 15 percent increase in the probability of engaging in aggressive behavior.

"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 write.

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