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Soft Drinks Linked to Violent Tendencies in Teens: Study
Date:10/24/2011

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Teens who drink lots of soda seem to be prone to violence, new research suggests.

But the study authors concede that sodas are probably not the direct cause of the aggression.

While there's a chance that the sugar and caffeine from carbonated drinks contributes to violent behavior, the study shows an association, not a cause-and-effect. Soda consumption, for example, may be a marker of heightened violent tendencies already present in the teen, or of poor parenting, the researchers said.

"Soda [could be] a red flag that is indicating something else is wrong," said study co-author Sara Solnick, an associate professor of economics at the University of Vermont in Burlington.

The study is published in the Oct. 24 online issue of Injury Prevention.

The researchers asked about 1,900 Boston public high school students how many non-diet sodas they drank during the last week, as well as whether they carried a weapon or had been violent toward family members or peers.

Nearly 43 percent of teens who drank 14 or more cans of soda a week said they carried a weapon at some point, compared with 23 percent of teens who drank less than one can of soda a week.

Th researchers also saw an association between soda and weapons even when kids drank less than 14 cans. About 33 percent of teens who drank two to four cans a week said they'd carried a knife or a gun at some point, as did 38 percent of teens who drank five to seven cans of soda.

There was a similar "dose relationship" on other measures of violence. About 27 percent of teens who drank 14 or more cans of soda a week admitted to violence against a romantic partner, compared with 15 percent of those drinking less than one can a week.

And 59 percent of those drinking 14 or more cans a week had been violent toward peers, compared with 35 percent of those drinking o
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