Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Teens and Soda and Junk Science

The headlines of a number of newspapers say "Soda Boosts Violence Among Teenagers."  A new study out of Harvard's Public Health Division analyzed data from 1878 14 to 18 year olds and found those who drank over 5 cans of non-diet soda a week consumed more alcohol and smoked more cigarettes.  Additionally those teens were more likely to carry a knife and exhibit violence toward family and peers.

According to the Washington Post,  "About 23 percent of those who drank one or no cans of soda a week carried a gun or knife, and 15 percent had perpetrated violence toward a partner. In comparison, among those who consumed 14 or more cans a week, 43 percent carried a gun or knife and 27 percent had been violent toward a partner, the researchers found. Similarly, violence towards peers rose from 35 percent to 58 percent while violence towards siblings rose from 25.4 percent to 43 percent."

The study was published online in something called "Injury Prevention". Despite the fact that I've never heard of this "journal", somehow the study got National coverage in the news.  To the author's credit, they admitted that the study did not prove causality and there may be other factors that weren't accounted for.  The students self reported their soft drink consumption and their "violent" tendencies. 

As the mother of a teen, I can tell you that teen boys think they are "badder" than they are and I would guess some of the self-reporting would be questionable.  Just sayin'....

This story, with it's sensational headlines, should make us all take pause with the hundreds of pseudo-science reports that come out daily as "breakthroughs" or "news".   With 24 hour news shows, the Internet and the need for content that will grab the reader, a big dose of skepticism should be our first thought.

7 comments:

Michael Kirsch, M.D. said...

My mom and I drink a lot of soda. Neither of us is armed and dangerous. Of course, the soda can could be used as a weapon...

Liz said...

i always think of my junior high science experiment where we left a tooth in a glass of coke and after a few days it was disintegrating. i cannot drink a soda without remembering that.

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This is informative article. I think teens should stay away from soda as it will very bad effect on their health.

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OMG.... I should stop to drink so much soda during my working day!Thanks for such useful and informative article!

Maggie said...

Drinking soda is common in our teens today but the fact that soda can boost violence among teenagers is surprising. I know that taking too much of anything is not good but I never thought that this can be an effect of soda. I bet if teens are aware of such they will most likely reduce their intake.