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Science Idle

Candy Linked To Violence In Study 205

Posted by samzenpus
from the gummy-worms-and-steal dept.
T Murphy writes "A study published in the British Journal of Psychiatry links daily consumption of candy at the age of 10 to an increased chance of being convicted of a violent crime by age 34. The researchers theorize the correlation comes from the way candy is given rather than the candy itself. Candy frequently given as a short-term reward can encourage impulsive behavior, which can more likely lead to violence. An alternative explanation offered by the American Dietetic Association is that the candy indicates poor diet, which hinders brain development. The scientists stress they don't imply candy should be removed from a child's diet, although they do recommend moderation. The study controls for teachers' reports of aggression and impulsivity at age 10, the child's gender, and parenting style. The study can be found here, but the full text is behind a paywall."

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Candy Linked To Violence In Study

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  • Surely a study like this is not funded by the organic food industry?
    • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:45AM (#29678689) Homepage Journal

      Surely a study like this is not funded by the organic food industry?

      Organic food is much better than inorganic food.

      • by siloko (1133863)

        Organic food is much better than inorganic food.

        I guess so - but Candy?? In the BJPsy?? Over here we eat sweets! As far as I am concerned the whole premise is scuppered so the conclusions can go hang!

      • by rleibman (622895)

        Surely a study like this is not funded by the organic food industry?

        Organic food is much better than inorganic food.

        Except for salt

    • by jopsen (885607)

      Surely a study like this is not funded by the organic food industry?

      Not that I've read TFA, but do you have any evidence to back that statement ?

    • by hrvatska (790627)

      Surely a study like this is not funded by the organic food industry?

      Not sure why the organic food industry would have an interest in funding a study like this. Maybe you're assuming that organic!=junk food. This isn't the case, as there are plenty of companies producing organic junk food, such as chocolate, high fat ice cream and deep fried snacks like potato and corn chips. Consuming organic food doesn't guarantee a healthy diet, that's still up to the individual.

    • Re:Organic Food (Score:5, Insightful)

      by daem0n1x (748565) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @10:02AM (#29680587)

      Yeah, we all know we can't trust any of these "scientific" studies because the organic food corporations are so much more gigantic, rich and powerful than the fast-food corporations.

      It's like global warming. It's all a lie. The tree-hugging hippies have soooo much money and power that they bought all the scientists, the media and all the politicians, too. The poor oil corporations don't have a chance.

  • Sweeties! (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward

    A British study would be looking at the effect of *sweets* rather than *candy*.

  • NHS Explains (Score:5, Informative)

    by JRiddell (216337) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:46AM (#29678697) Homepage

    For an excellent overview of this story I recommend this critique of the paper [www.nhs.uk] from the English NHS's excellent Behind the Headlines [www.nhs.uk] service. Unlike a newspaper it will tell you who did the study, how it was funded, where the data came from and whether the results are worth anything. In this case the data was severaly limited and had put people into either "eating sweets every day" or "not eating sweets" which is very coarse categorising.It also doesn't report the absolute number of children who went on to become adult offenders. In conclusion

    "Overall, this study on its own does not provide strong enough evidence to guide childhood dietary advice, although common sense says that eating too many sweets is probably not good for children. Before the newspapersâ(TM) explanation for a link can be believed there must be studies specifically designed to investigate the issue from the outset."

    • ..."eating sweets every day" or "not eating sweets" which is very coarse categorising.

      This is often done to get a significant test result. A Chi2 correlation test will give different results depending on the "bin" sizes.

      So you start with fine grained bins and then start pooling until you get a significant test. If you still don't get a significant result, try other tests that can be used. This of course creates massive problems for the validly of any "significant" result.

    • Hang on a second, are you seriously expecting Slashdots mainly american audience to read something by the socalist NHS? Quite clearly the reason for the NHS denying this study is that they WANT people to get ill to continue their socialist principles.

      Next time you hear people decry the "socialist" NHS think on this report and ask how in the US medical system is focusing on prevention.

      • by AHuxley (892839)
        The NHS knows candy sells and keeps UK candy workers running production lines 24/7.
        The only "prevention" the "socialist" UK system as a whole is interested in is loss of tax income and loss of jobs.
        More UK workers making cheap mind dumbing candy, more UK workers paying tax, more tax and the NHS budget grows.
        A "safe" candy scare is not good. The cost of looking after a few offenders in their 20-40's vs a shake up to real taxes?
        Unless you have flipper babies again, an MP tests for plastic/heavy metals,
    • by smaddox (928261)

      "Overall, 69% of respondents who were violent by the age of 34 years reported that they ate sweets nearly every day during childhood. Sweets were eaten this regularly by 42% of those who were non-violent."

      This is an inconclusive result if I've ever seen one.

  • by SkunkPussy (85271) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @05:46AM (#29678699) Journal

    I very much doubt any British study would have looked at candy consumption as that's not a word in common usage over here.

  • by fluch (126140)

    Criminals which have been eating candies when they were 10 are dump at the age of 34. The criminals which did not eat candies at the age of 10 are less likely to be caught.

    And if I see again this: "Thirty-five of those children went on to report at age 34 that they'd been convicted of a violent crime, the researchers found." .... they make a statistical statement about a sample of 35! Gosh! The study is not worth even a single penny (nor a candy)!

  • really? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GAB_cyclist (1274556)
    The researchers theorize the correlation comes from the way candy is given rather than the candy itself. Candy frequently given as a short-term reward can encourage impulsive behavior, which can more likely lead to violence So bad parenting is the cause of criminal behaviour? Who would have thought...
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:07AM (#29678801) Homepage

    Parents who regularly give their kids candy usually are the sort of parents who aren't disciplining their kids. Candy is often used by such people as a replacement for parental authority in controlling their kids' behavior.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by jonadab (583620)
      > Candy is often used by such people as a replacement for
      > parental authority in controlling their kids' behavior.

      Actually, it can be even worse than that.

      There are parents out there who make absolutely no attempt whatsoever to control their kids' behavior or teach them *anything*, at all, ever. They let them eat quite literally whatever they want, which generally does not result in anything you could describe as a healthy diet. And they let them *do* whatever they want, which doesn't necessarily re
      • by Reziac (43301) *

        In my observation, the kids whose parents make NO attempt to control their kids' behaviour wind up in better shape than those kids whose parents attempt to BRIBE their kids' behaviour.

        The do-nothing parent at least doesn't actively warp the kid. The kid may not learn anything from his parents, but he will learn when other people whack him upside the head for being a mannerless little prick. He may even develop urges to more-mature behaviour on his own (to gain respect from peers, teachers, or whoever), thus

    • too many sweets leads to tooth decay - which would require more visits to the dentist. Maybe it's this which leads to increased levels of violence?

      It seems to me there are too many uncontrolled (and probably even more unknown) variables for any meaningful conclusions to come from this. The biggest thing that's missing from all these social science studies is any sort of objective or quanitfiable units of measurement. Until they can all agree on HOW violent, in standardised units, there's nothing worth dis

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When will people finally learn? Studies like that are just stupid. Absolutely nothing was shown here.

    Simple explanation (just an example of cause):
    Less educated families tend to give their children more sweets. Lack of education is responsible for criminal activities (causality assumed for this example). In such a scenario there would of cause be a correlation between sweets and crime but obviously no causality.

    • Absolutely nothing was shown here. ...except the correlation you suggest may be caused by lack of education. Or maybe it's not, and candy really does cause violence.

      Perhaps this study showed that there is a need for further study? Knowing that there is a correlation is the first step to determining causation.

      • by trb (8509)
        Absolutely nothing was shown here. ...except the correlation you suggest may be caused by lack of education. Or maybe it's not, and candy really does cause violence.

        Or maybe violence causes candy.

  • by Hurricane78 (562437) <.gro.todhsals. .ta. .deteled.> on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:16AM (#29678833)

    If you eat candy as a replacement for love, you are more likely to be violent because of a lack of love.

    Just a theory. And one way of many. But I've seen it too often, that a addiction, being itself a replacement for something else you need, does mean that when you don't get it, you become desperate and do things that you normally would not do. Not specifically violence. More like when you destroy everything around you because you can't stand the situation. (Similar to rage.)

    We should be clear about those two things:
    1. Candy is a likely candidate for addictions.
    2. Addictions always are a replacement for a lack of something else.
    So find that something else, and help the person get that stuff so much, that they forget the addiction because they don't need it anymore.

    For children, this usually is the lack of good parents.
    (I said for a long time, that social and parenting skills must be an essential skill you learn in a class in school! [Which for the second generation will mean that they also learn it from their now capable parents at home.])

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      If you eat candy as a replacement for love

      Who would eat candy as a replacement for love? That's what the television is for!

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      1. Candy is a likely candidate for addictions.

      Candy is addictive. It's not candy though, it's sugar and it only matters a little bit where it comes from. Sucrose vs. Fructose is basically irrelevant because wonder bread vs. sucrose is not really a competition. To your body, they're the same thing. That's one reason this study is stupid. You could never allow your child to eat a candy bar, but serve them cap'n crunch for breakfast every day and you're just begging for juvenile diabetes.

      Your body produces insulin for the process of breaking down carbohyd

  • Revised Headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JayGuerette (457133) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:16AM (#29679133)

    Children of parents who encourage poor & impulsive choices grow up to make poor & impulsive choices.

  • by petes_PoV (912422) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:21AM (#29679163)
    With halloween coming up, just try refusing to give sweets (american translation: candy) to the little beggars that come calling. See if those who don't get given sweets are more or less violent than those who do.

    Statistically demonstrable != sensible

  • Diet? Really? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Benjo (644811) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @07:36AM (#29679225)
    Isn't it very possible the a persons diet when they're 10 is likely to be an indicator of their parents conscientiousness. If you accept that to be true then all this study really shows is that people with conscientious parents are less likely to be violent criminals. And I think most people would regard that as a no brainer....
  • If Candy's violent, ban the bitch. Hell put her in jail if you have to. Just leave my sweets alone you motherfuckers.

  • How about... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by benjfowler (239527) on Thursday October 08, 2009 @09:30AM (#29680215)

    "Bad and Clueless Parenting Linked to Violence"?

    The big problem with Anglo-Celtic society, is that we always love to yammer on about our rights and inalienable right to individual freedom, but never our responsibilities to each other.

    Libertoons who try to defend the indefensible in the name of "freedom" and "individual liberty" annoy the hell out of me. They're every bit as bad as Marxists, religious crazies and animal rights extremists.

    • Libertoons who try to defend the indefensible in the name of "freedom" and "individual liberty" annoy the hell out of me. They're every bit as bad as Marxists, religious crazies and animal rights extremists.

      I am a bit confused by this comment -- what are you calling indefensible -- giving children candy? I agree, bad parenting is bad news, but how are we going to go about solving that? A child will be much better off in the end with jack-off, irresponsible parents than if you rip them out of the home and into foster care. We need to educate people to make the right choices. And yes, I will defend the rights of parents to give their children candy, just because the last thing we need is more government interv

      • A child will be much better off in the end with jack-off, irresponsible parents than if you rip them out of the home and into foster care.

        What, like this one? [bbc.co.uk]

        How much worse could it have been? [timesonline.co.uk]

        • Are you dense? Did you even read what I wrote? I specifically covered serious abuse and neglect as situations in which the government needs to step in. Both of the incidents you mentioned SHOULD have been taken care of by the systems currently in place, and the tragedy was caused by a string of failures by individuals. Tweaking the system to make it work more efficiently and to more accurately diagnose abuse and neglect = good. Expanding the breadth of influence the gov't has over what decisions you can and
  • "The question... is vague. It doesn't say what KIND of candy or... or whether anyone is watching."
  • by Brian Stretch (5304) * on Thursday October 08, 2009 @11:06AM (#29681383) Homepage

    Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomised, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial [thelancet.com]

    Even that study could have been done better but it was enough to get the point across. Petrochemical food additives such as artificial coloring (FD&C anything), flavoring and preservatives (BHA, BHT, some others) are inherently toxic and immune response to them varies wildly between individuals. With some people you'll never notice a difference. With others, the tiniest bit of, say, red dye will make them hyper, violent, you name it. Synthetics are a major reason why ADHD has become epidemic.

    For me, synthetics were making me more impulsive and a bit mean. Nothing dramatic but switching to a clean diet made a noticeable difference in my psychology and I'm in better shape now too.

    Keeping synthetics out of your diet can be difficult. It helps if there's a nearby Whole Foods Market or similar store that bans all synthetics. There is NO REASON for synthetics in food other than that they save food processors from having to buy real ingredients.

    Why haven't you heard more about this? Who's going to pay for the research? It won't lead to a prescription drug, surgery, or any other medical intervention. It'd wipe out most of the market for ADHD meds (not all, some people have congenital neurochemical imbalances). It would require people to learn how to cook again.

    Much more info at the Feingold Association research [feingold.org] page.

  • "Don't hog it all, smelly-head!"

    "Go to hell, zitface!"

  • I'm always suspicious of statistical studies that reinforce cultural beliefs.

    Was the study designed as part of a series of studies to understand how people ended up in prison or designed to show that one way or another, it's the parents' fault?

  • It was not Candy in the study. It was Mrs. Peacock in the billiard room.
  • I made a similar study, using myself as the test population. I discovered that when I don't get my daily dose of chocolate, I become violent, and that 100% of those studied had this response!

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