Does soda pop make kids more violent? According to a recent study of Boston high school students, kids who had more than 5 sodas a day were 15% likelier to engage in aggressive behavior. Researchers say they don’t know if it’s the sugar or, “a marker for other problems — that kids who are violent for whatever reason, they tend to smoke more, they tend to drink more alcohol and they tend to maybe drink more soft drinks.”
They also tend to be less supervised. If a child has the freedom to drink more than five cans of soda pop a day, one has to wonder what other freedoms he or she is enjoying. When soda machines are banned in most schools, these kids must be buying them after school or pulling them out of the family refrigerator while they wait for mom and dad to come home.
In our PC culture, where researchers must tread lightly lest their findings contradict the prevailing liberal and secular cultural thought, it’s much safer to blame sugar (and those evil corporate beverage makers) than parents. Definitely don’t report anything that might suggest that there are downsides to family arrangements where no one is home to greet or watch kids when they come home from school. You are far more likely to receive more funding and positive reviews in the media if your research points to sugar as the culprit, rather than too many kids home alone and left to their own devices in the nutrition department.
Every year, millions of dollars are spent on fancy campaigns to educate kids and parents on nutrition, yet childhood obesity is growing, not declining. The only things on the decline are discipline, moderation, manners, and respect for authority among our young people. Perhaps a more cost-effective answer to all these problems would be more family dinners and more parents around to say, “no” to a whole host of things, including sugary treats.