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Researchers in the United States say there's a `shocking' association - if only a statistical one - between violence by teenagers and the amount of fizzy soft drink they drink.
High-school students in inner-city Boston who consumed more than five cans of non-diet, fizzy soft drinks every week were between nine and 15 per cent likelier to engage in an aggressive act compared with counterparts who drank less.
"What we found was that there was a strong relationship between how many soft drinks that these inner-city kids consumed and how violent they were, not only in violence against peers but also violence in dating relationships, against siblings," said David Hemenway, a professor at the Harvard School of Public Health.
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"It was shocking to us when we saw how clear the relationship was," he told AFP in an interview.
But he stressed that only further work would confirm - or disprove - the key question whether higher consumption of sweet sodas caused violent behaviour.
Among the questions were how much carbonated non-diet soft drink, measured in 12-ounce (355-millilitre) cans, the teens had drunk in the previous seven days.
They were also asked whether they drank alcohol or smoked, carried a weapon or showed violence towards peers, family members and partner.
What emerged, said Hemenway, was evidence of "dose response," in other words, the more soda was consumed, the likelier the tendency towards violence.
Among those who drank one or no cans of soft drink a week, 23 percent carried a gun or a knife; 15 percent perpetrated violence towards a partner; and 35 percent had been violent towards peers.
At the other end of the scale, among those who drank 14 cans a week, 43 percent carried a gun or a knife; 27 percent had been violent towards a partner; and more than 58 percent had been violent towards peers.
Tamra Mercieca writes a weekly column for BayFM.com.au on health, lifestyle and balance. Her articles have been published in various health publications such as The Daily Telegraph/Herald Sun’s Body and Soul and Women’s Health and Fitness magazine. She also pens a coaching column in Nature and Health Magazine called ‘Ask Tamra’ and the Getting Naked column in Femme Fatale magazine.
You can read her full profile here.