PARENTS

Kids Who Eat Sweets Are More Likely To Turn Out Violent, Claim Researchers

01/10/2009 09:42 | Updated 22 May 2015

Kids who eat sweets and chocolate every day are more likely to turn into violent adults, researchers have claimed.

Experts at Cardiff University found 10-year-olds who had a daily dose of sweets were more likely to have been convicted of violence by the age of 34.

One commentator has described this study as a "bad April Fool's joke" and it does sound bizarre.

But the researchers have even come up with a possible explanation for their findings.

They reckon that kids who are given sweets and chocolate often don't learn to "delay gratification". They think they can have what they want, when they want.

Or, they said, it was possible that the sweets made people addicted to certain additives, which could contribute towards aggression.

However other experts have suggested that children who are already difficult to deal with might be given more sweets as a way of keeping them quiet.

The university researchers studied data on around 17,500 people. They found that 69 who were non-violent.

Even after they allowed for other factors such as parenting behaviour, the area they lived in and their education, there was still a link, they said.

Dr Simon Moore, who led the study, which was reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry, told the BBC: "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.

"Targeting resources at improving children's diet may improve health and reduce aggression."

However, Julian Hunt, director of communications for the Food and Drink Federation, said: "This is either utter nonsense or a very bad April Fool's Day joke.

"Anti-social behaviour stems from deep-rooted social and environmental factors, such as poor parenting and a deprived upbringing, and is not linked to whether or not you ate sweeties as a kid.

"How anyone could leap to such a conclusion is beyond me."

Do you believe the findings of this study? How often do you give your children sweets and chocolate?

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