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Sweet link to violence

Thursday October 1st, 2009

Children who get a daily dose of sweets and chocolate face an increased risk of growing up to become violent adults, researchers warned today.

Researchers found that more than two thirds of adults convicted for violence had grown up on sweets and chocolate.

The findings come from a study of some 17,500 people born in 1970.

Writing in the British Journal of Psychiatry, researchers say that 69 per cent of those convicted for violent crime by the age of 34 had eaten sweets and chocolate daily at the age of ten.

Just 42 per cent of the remainder had eaten sweets daily as children.

Researcher Dr Simon Moore, of Cardiff University, UK, said: "Our favoured explanation is that giving children sweets and chocolate regularly may stop them learning how to wait to obtain something they want.

"Not being able to defer gratification may push them towards more impulsive behaviour, which is strongly associated with delinquency."

* A second study in the same journal, also from Cardiff University, warns that women who smoke during pregnancy may put their children at risk of showing "psychotic symptoms" such as hallucinations or delusions.

The findings come from interviews with some 6,356 12-year-old children in the west of England.

Researchers linked signs of psychosis with smoking and also with heavy drinking during pregnancy. Some 11 per cent of children showed signs of developing the problem while 19 percent had mothers who smoked.

Researcher Dr Stanley Zammit said: "If our results are non-biased and reflect a causal relationship, we can estimate that about 20 per cent of adolescents in this cohort would not have developed psychotic symptoms if their mothers had not smoked.

"Therefore, maternal smoking may be an important risk factor in the development of psychotic experiences in the population."

British Journal of Psychiatry, 195: 366-367, 294-300

Tags: Child Health | Childbirth and Pregnancy | Diet & Food | Drug and Alcohol Abuse | Mental Health | UK News

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