Fizzy Drinks Linked To Violence Amongst Teens

25 Oct 2011, 09:43
Comment (4)
Fizzy Drinks

More blows to the fizzy, sugary drink industry with research suggesting that teens who drink a can a day of soft drink or around five cans per week are more likely to become aggressive, even carrying weapons and being physically violent with friends, fellow students and family members. The research published in Injury Prevention would make some criminal defense lawyers happy.


The famous "Twinkie Defense" harks back to the assassination of San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and city supervisor Harvey Milk, popularized in the movie "Milk" with Sean Penn, where Dan White claimed diminished capacity as a result of junk food.


A Twinkie is a prepackaged cake with creamy filling. 1878 teens from 22 public schools in Boston, Massachusetts were studied as part of Boston Youth Survey, a biennial survey of 9th to 12th graders (14 to 18 year old).


The survey included questions such as how many non-diet soft drinks they consumed in the past week, measuring consumption in 355ml / 12oz cans. Responses were categorized according to quantity and then divided into two groups: - 70% Low Consumption: Those drinking up to 4 cans per week 


  • 30% High Consumption: Those drinking five or more cans per week The researchers then looked at potential links to violent behavior in this group, by asking if they had been violent towards their peers, a sibling, or a partner, and if they had carried a gun or knife over the past year.  Responses were assessed according to factors that might have influenced results, including:


  • Age.
  • Gender.
  • Alcohol Consumption.


Average Amount of Sleep on a School Night  Those who drank more than 5 cans per week showed some alarming trends and were significantly more likely to use:

  • Alcohol.
  • Tobacco.
  • Carry a Gun.
  • Carry a Knife.
  • Exhibit Physical Violence Towards Peers, Family Members and Partners  Dividing the findings into four categories of consumption, showed a clear "dose-response relationship" across all four measures :  Carried a Gun / Knife :


  • 23% - one or no cans of soft drink a week.
  • 43% - 14 or more cans  Perpetrating violence towards a partner :
  • 15% - One or no cans a week.
  • 27% - 14 or more  Violence towards peers.
  • 35% - One or no cans a week.
  • 58% - 14 or more  Violence towards siblings rose.
  • 25% - One or no cans a week.
  • 43% - 14 or more  In conclusion teens who were heavy consumers of non-diet carbonated soft drinks, the probability of aggressive behaviour was 9 to 15 percent higher.


This is the same magnitude as the impact of alcohol or tobacco - the findings showed.


The authors concluded, "There may be a direct cause-and-effect-relationship, perhaps due to the sugar or caffeine content of soft drinks, or there may be other factors, unaccounted for in our analysis, that cause both high soft drink consumption and aggression."

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  • Jared Jensen

    Wow, I never thought that fizzy drinks can cause violence. And they are, like, everywhere ...

    25 Oct 2011 in 10:29
  • Larry Collins

    The fact that those drinks are bad for your stomach is well known. And now when it is discovered that they are likely to cause violence in teens they must be forbidden for sale.

    25 Oct 2011 in 10:47
  • Michelle Edwards

    I think it is impossible to completely remove fizzy drinks from the stores. But something must be done to reduce their sales to teenagers.

    25 Oct 2011 in 11:16
  • Anthony Phillips

    It is not the drinks themselves that cause violence but their content - sugar and caffeine. They must not be used in such drinks if companies dont want to be sued each time when some school boys beat someone after a can of cola.

    25 Oct 2011 in 11:29
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