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LK Griffie

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The Twinkie Defense: Teen Drinking and Violence
By LK Griffie   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Saturday, January 14, 2012
Posted: Saturday, January 14, 2012

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Does drinking soda lead to more violence in teens?

Having been a soda-holic at one point in my life... okay, let's be honest for most of my adult life... I found this article on the consumption of sugary soda highly interesting. Now my drinking habit fell in the diet drink category, rather than the non-diet drink, but I definitely was addicted to the carbonation. So maybe my violent urges were curbed because I consumed the diet version of the bubbly elixir rather than the leaded variety. But, the premise that the article starts off with of non-diet sodas being linked to obesity is true , but diet sodas are also linked to obesity. So maybe the scope of the study was too narrow to have the full picture.

Basically what the article boils down to is that teens who consume five or more sodas per week are more likely to exhibit violent behavior and carry guns and/or knives and significantly more likely to have consumed alcohol or smoked. Unfortunately, they didn't put a number around the potential for alcohol consumption likelihood, or the smoking, so we're left to wonder what "significantly" works out to in real-world terms. They did however put a number against the potential for a teen to carry either a knife or a gun. If a teen consumes 14 or more sodas of the sugary variety per week (two per day or more for those who do not like to do the math), then they are 20% more likely to carry a knife or a gun. Actually, the alarming fact in the article to me was not that carrying weapons increases by 20% when someone is a high soda consumer, but that 23% of those polled carry either a knife or a gun on a regular basis. 23%!!!!! I see that I am going to have to rethink some of my characters and start including more who carry weapons.

It is also mentioned in the article that the high consumption of soda (more than five per week) has the same impact on the behavior in teens as alcohol, when it comes to an increase in violent behavior raising the potential from 9%-15% over those who do not consume sodas. Sara J. Solnick and David Hemenway of The University of Vermont and Harvard School of Public Health respectively, concluded that, "The influence of soft drink consumption on violence appears to be a 'dose-response' relationship, with effects visible at low levels of consumption and increasing with greater consumption." Will this lead to pleas in court of " wasn't my fault, Your Honor, I drank soda and couldn't help myself."?

Actually, the first thing that came to mind after reading the article was how interesting a study of soda consumption among authors and whether there is a correlation to the amount of suffering they inflict on their characters would be. Followed by the thought that we may need to start including soda consumption as a character trait prior to violent episodes.

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