Children Eating Sweets Daily Linked to Violence

Children who eat sweets and chocolate every day are more likely to become violent adults according to UK researchers.

The Cardiff University study involving 17,500 people is the first study to look into effects of childhood diet on adult violence. It found 10-year-olds who ate sweets daily were significantly more likely to have a violence conviction by age 34. The researchers found that 69% of the participants who were violent at the age of 34 had eaten sweets and chocolate nearly every day during childhood, compared to 42% who were non-violent.

The link remained even after controlling for other factors such as parenting behavior, location of where child lived, not having education after the age of 16 and whether or not they had access to a car when they were 34.

So not only does eating junk food in childhood increase the risk of adult cancers as stated in my book Disease Proof Your Child, there is now evidence that suggests eating sweets may contribute to sending your child to jail down the road. Interestingly, this link between violent behavior and sweets was better than the link between abusive parenting behaviors and violent crime. Parents need to know that giving their children sweets is dangerous for many reasons.

The study was reported in the British Journal of Psychiatry.

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Comments (7) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Jacob Park - October 20, 2009 9:01 PM

That makes perfect sense. Poor diets are likely the main culprit in unruly childhood behavior nowadays. Dietary choices in childhood can increase cancer risk, among many other issues, so why not violence, as well? A developing brain given all that stimulating sugar would have to run into some issues.

Monty - October 21, 2009 10:22 AM

Where do you find a statistical sample of 10-year-olds who don't eat sweets? Are they all Natural Hygienists, followers of Eat For Health, or from remote areas of the world where there is no advertising?

Cindy - October 21, 2009 3:41 PM

Dr. Fuhrman and Nutritarians, Thank you! And please continue to spread the word on this! As both a mom and a teacher, I find that limiting sweets to children is very difficult in our society. Bravo for schools that are taking steps in this direction.

Michael - October 22, 2009 9:46 AM

I've noticed the few times I've slipped and eaten a lot of sugar, I get strong feelings of anxiety and often feel depressed a few hours later. I remember when I was younger and eating sweets at every meal, I was plagued with feelings of anxiety, depression and anger. My mood is so much better and more even now. I also love the fact that I'm not constantly obsessing over food. Nutrition has so many affects on our health and it's hard to tell until you've changed to a Nutritarian lifestyle how much of an effect it has.

Carol - October 28, 2009 7:40 AM

Interesting - and I would be concerned not only that they could get to the point of being convicted, but what about all the behaviors leading up to that, and all the people who are not convicted? Yikes!

We have to do better with our kids!

peter - October 28, 2009 9:26 AM

Who are you crazy people feeding your 10 year old sweets every day......And what is defined as a sweet????

lilly - April 25, 2010 1:20 PM

dat is bad

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