Simon Moore, the study’s lead researcher, said in a telephone interview yesterday,
“Persistently giving confectionary to children may teach them to be impulsive and to try and get what they want by using aggression.Although she has not read the study, Dr. Dominika Osmolska, a clinical psychologist, agrees with Moore. She suggests the study demonstrates correlation, not causation. The candy consumption does not cause the violent behavior; rather it is a system of an impulse control issue, which is evidenced early in life.
“Our favored 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 toward more impulsive behavior, which is strongly associated with delinquency.”
The data collection of the study took place when the participants were aged 5, 10, 26, 30, 34 and 42. Of those who had eaten candy daily during childhood, 69% had been arrested for violent actions by the age of 34. Those who showed no violent behavior only ate sweets daily 42% of the time.
The researchers said that the study shows that more attention needs to be done. Why am I not surprised. The research will appear in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.