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Thursday, October 1, 2009

 

Spoiling children with sweets or chocolate linked to violence in adulthood

Spoiling children with sweets linked to violence in adulthood

Children given sweets or chocolate every day are more likely to grow into aggressive adults, according to a new study.

 

Richard Alleyne

Telegraph UK

Science Correspondent
6:30AM BST 01 Oct 2009

Researchers found that preteens who regularly ate the confectionaries were much more likely to have a conviction for violent crime by the time they reached their mid thirties.

Psychiatrists believe that spoiling or assuaging youngsters with treats may lead to an inability to deal with not getting what they want in later life. This in turn could lead to frustration and anger.

The study, published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, is the first to examine the long-term effects of childhood diet on adult violence. It suggests that a better diet could lead to better behaviour later in life.

The findings come from the 1970 British Cohort Study, a project following the lives of 17,500 people born in April 1970.

It found that 10-year-olds who ate confectionery daily were significantly more likely to have been convicted for violence before the age of 34.

Researchers from Cardiff University found that 69 per cent of the participants who were violent at that age had eaten sweets and chocolate nearly every day during childhood, compared to 42 per cent who were non-violent.

The link between confectionery consumption and violence remained after taking into account other factors.

Dr Simon Moore, lead researcher, said: “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.”

But he admits that the exact link is still unclear.

Dr Moore said another possibility is the additives in sweets themselves causing problems with attention and delinquency. But he felt it was more likely the way they are acquired that affected behaviour.

“If parents give their children sweets for attention seeking behaviour, or to prevent bad behaviour, they could be encouraging them to act out more. More research is needed here, but this is the most interesting mechanism.

“We looked at the decision making style and believe children given sweets on demand become risk takers rather than risk avoiders.”

Now researchers believe improving children’s diets may help controlling aggression and reducing violent behaviour.

The researchers concluded: “This association between confectionery consumption and violence needs further attention.

“Targeting resources at improving children’s diet may improve health and reduce aggression.”


Comments:
Wish a nutritonist would do a paper based on these findings. I'll bet hypoglycemia factors into some behavior issues, due to having read sugar cravings are symptomatic of B-vitamin cravings.
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