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Science Idle

Candy Linked To Violence In Study 205

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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  • 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 [] from the English NHS's excellent Behind the Headlines [] 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."

  • 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.

  • Re:umm (Score:5, Informative)

    by SerpentMage ( 13390 ) <> on Thursday October 08, 2009 @06:31AM (#29678897)

    I work for a living in statistics, namely as a quant.

    This study is crap!

    17,000 tests, and 35 yes count them 35 had a violent crime. Of those 35, 65 percent said that they ate candy whereas in the 17000 only 42 said so.

    See the flaw? The flaw is that the pool size of the violent criminals is actually way too small. Instead what they need to do is go to the prison system and see if the 65% number holds up. Because only with a big enough pool size can something be said.

    Right now this study is crap, because the results could be the result of a sampling flaw.

    If anything can be said of this study is that you need to verify it with the prison system.

To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. -- Thomas Edison