Does Soda Make Teens Violent?

Stay away from high schoolers in Boston who drink more than five cans of soda every week. A Boston-area study found that teens who consumed five or more sodas in a week had a higher tendency for violence. They were also more likely to have consumed alcohol or smoked within the month preceding the survey.

One out of three teenagers were categorized as high consumers in the study, published in Injury Prevention Magazine.

The results came from the Boston Youth Survey, a two-year study conducted on almost 2,000 Boston teenagers from 22 high schools.

Researchers asked participants how many sodas (by the can) they drank in a week, then asked if those students had been violent toward another student, brother or sister, or significant other. To top it off, researchers also wanted to know if participants had carried a gun or knife within the last year.

According to Dr. Sara Solnick, one of the researchers, "There were a lot of questions about violence and different factors. There was also a couple of questions about diet. We were quite surprised to see a strong link between soft drinks and the probability of violent behaviors." Solnick is a professor at the University of Vermont.

The good news: Of the students who drank one or zero cans of soda per week, only 23% had carried a weapon at some point. Still, that's a high number. Almost 1 in 4 carried a gun or knife at some point. Of those who drank a whopping 14 cans or more, 43% packed heat.


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