Washington: Teens who drink more than five cans of non-diet, fizzy soft drinks every week are significantly more likely to behave aggressively, a new study has suggested.
This includes carrying a weapon and perpetrating violence against peers and siblings.
The findings were based on the study of 1,878 teens from 22 public schools in Boston, Massachusetts.
The teens were asked how many carbonated non-diet soft drinks they had drunk over the past seven days.
The researchers then looked at potential links to violent behaviour in this group, by asking if they had been violent towards their peers, a sibling, or a partner, and if they had carried a gun or knife over the past year.
Those who drank 5 or more cans of soft drinks every week were significantly more likely to have drunk alcohol and smoked at least once in the previous month.
But even after controlling for these and other factors, heavy use of carbonated non-diet soft drinks was significantly associated with carrying a gun or knife, and violence towards peers, family members and partners.
In all, for those teens who were heavy consumers of non-diet carbonated soft drinks, the probability of aggressive behaviour was 9 to 15 percentage points higher - the same magnitude as the impact of alcohol or tobacco - the findings showed.
“There may be a direct cause-and-effect-relationship, perhaps due to the sugar or caffeine content of soft drinks, or there may be other factors, unaccounted for in our analyses, that cause both high soft drink consumption and aggression,” concluded the authors.
The findings were published online in Injury Prevention.