Eating Candy in Childhood Linked to Adult Crime
October 2, 2009
Just pulled this story from Time Magazine. The begs the question; When hiring employees in addition to thorough background checks and substance abuse testing should employers now begin testing blood sugar levels?
What parent hasn’t used candy to pacify a cranky child or head off a brewing tantrum? When reasoning, threats and time-outs fail, a sugary treat often does the trick. But while that chocolate-covered balm may be highly effective in the short term, say British scientists, it may be setting youngsters up for problem behavior later. According to a new study, kids who eat too many treats at a young age risk becoming violent in adulthood.
The research was led by Simon Moore, a senior lecturer in Violence and Society Research at Cardiff University in the U.K., who specializes in the study of vulnerable youngsters. Moore had been investigating the factors that lead children to commit serious crimes, when, during the course of his work, he discovered that “kids with the worst problems tend to be impulsive risk takers, and that these kids had terrible diets – breakfast was a Coke and a bag of chips,” he says. (Read “Why Media Could Be Bad for Your Child’s Health.”)
Intrigued by this association, Moore turned to the British Cohort Study, a long-term survey of 17,000 people born during a one-week period in April 1970. That study included periodic evaluations of many different aspects of the growing children’s lives, such as what they ate, certain health measures and socioeconomic status. Moore plumbed the data for information on kids’ diet and their later behavior: at age 10, the children were asked how much candy they consumed, and at age 34, they were questioned about whether they had been convicted of a crime. Moore’s analysis suggests a correlation: 69% of people who had been convicted of a violent act by age 34 reported eating candy almost every day as youngsters; 42% of people who had not been arrested for violent behavior reported the same. “Initially we thought this [effect] was probably due to something else,” says Moore. “So we tried to control for parental permissiveness, economic status, whether the kids were urban or rural. But the result remained. We couldn’t get rid of it.”
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