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When Candy Becomes Criminal

When Candy Becomes Criminal

If you ate candy every day as a child, you’re more likely to become a violent criminal. That’s the stunning revelation from a recent study done by Cardiff University. The study probed the habits of 17,500 people born in 1970, and found that those who said they ate sweets nearly every day when they were 10 were far more likely to have been convicted for a violent crime by the time they were 34.

69 percent of the 17,500 ate sweets every day. Which is a pretty jaw-dropping number.

However, the sweets themselves aren’t to blame for the bad behavior. Rather, it stems from the fact that giving children candy when they desire it, or as a reward, prevents the kids from learning how to deter gratification. They become pushy, and eventually sometimes aggressive. The kids don’t properly learn how to wait to get something they want.

As Jeff Kart notes over at TreeHugger, “Using candy as a reward for good behavior is risky because not all children learn patience from the practice. Instead, these children become more impulsive.”

It’s a pretty powerful finding, and yet another reason to restrict the number of sweets parents allow their children to have–I don’t even need to mention here that the American obesity rate is upwards of 25 percent. The researchers themselves say it best: “This association between confectionary consumption and violence needs further attention. Targeting resources at improving children’s diet may improve health and reduce aggression.”

So there you have it. If you want to minimize the chances your kid will become a violent criminal, or obese, for that matter, let’s lay off the sweets. Don’t want to cut out candy completely? Check out this article for some sweet alternatives and socially-aware candy choices.

Read more: Children, Community, Conscious Consumer, Diet & Nutrition, Do Good, Family, Health, Life, News & Issues, Smart Shopping, , ,

By Brian Merchant, Planet Green

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Megan, selected from Planet Green

Planet Green is the multi-platform media destination devoted to the environment and dedicated to helping people understand how humans impact the planet and how to live a more environmentally sustainable lifestyle. Its two robust websites, PlanetGreen.com and TreeHugger.com, offer original, inspiring, and entertaining content related to how we can evolve to live a better, brighter future. Planet Green is a division of Discovery Communications.

132 comments

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5:11AM PDT on Sep 16, 2012

Wow. Not sure that I'm completely 'buying" this study. But thx for the post.

10:11PM PDT on Sep 15, 2012

thanks

8:53AM PDT on Jul 26, 2012

+ too many sweets ages you faster! we need to educate adults and children....

11:13AM PDT on Jul 5, 2011

I'm not sure that I believe these statistics, as personally, I feel other factors have more importance and more bearing on how people may become violent criminals.

4:15PM PDT on Jul 1, 2011

I think there are much more important factors that influence children to grow up to be criminals, including living in poverty, abuse, parents on drugs instead of parenting them, mental heath issues that were never treated etc. I know you guys are all about a healthy lifestyle but it is unhealthy to scare people into feeding their children health food.
When study without a lot of evidence are used like this, I think it takes away from the real issues that need to be addressed.

4:30AM PST on Feb 17, 2011

Thanks for the article.

9:50AM PST on Feb 14, 2011

I find it a little hard to believe completely, but at the same time I can believe it to an extent since candy is full of preservatives, artificial colors and flavoring that can wreak havoc on the body and its systems over time. I'm all for candy and treats, but in moderation.

9:46AM PST on Feb 2, 2011

LOL! I should be grateful I didn't always get to eat candy :-)

12:59PM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

ooh creepy

9:26AM PDT on Oct 16, 2010

Regardless of whether candy will turn our children into criminals, I think it's a mistake to give it to our children except for on the rarest occasions. There are no nutrients, and just about every ingredient has some proven health detriment.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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