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.