Fizzy link to teenage aggression
US scientists have used surveys of public school students from Boston, Massachusetts, to suggest an association between high soft drink consumption and teenage aggression.
The research, published today in Injury Prevention (an online scientific journal) suggests that teenagers who drink more than five cans of non-diet, fizzy soft drinks every week are significantly more likely to behave aggressively than teenagers who consume less soft drink, even taking into account factors such as age and gender, alcohol consumption, and average amount of sleep on a school night.
The study has so far received mixed reviews from health and nutrition experts.
Dr. Karena Burke, Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the School of Health and Human Services, CQUniversity found the study “interesting” given the link between consumption of soft drinks and teenage aggression has rarely been considered in the past.
However, Dr Burke pointed out that while the large sample (of nearly 2000 teenagers) added weight to the findings, the survey did not account for the students’ total dietary consumption.
She said “the message to take away is really everything in moderation – as humans we were not made to consume these drinks on a regular day to day basis, physiologically they can have devastating effects on our bodies in a physical sense, it’s not hard to believe that they may have similar effects on our brain chemistry in large, long term doses”.
Professor Mike Daube, speaking on behalf of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) was even more skeptical saying, “I would suggest an exceptional degree of caution in interpreting these findings. I’m not sure that it actually shows anything other than that a lot of people are drinking a lot of soft drinks”.