Children who eat sweets daily are more likely to be violent as adults, a new study suggests.
Data from 17,500 participants in the 1970 British Cohort Study found that 10-year-olds who ate chocolates or other confectionaries daily were significantly more likely to have been convicted for violence by age 34.
Specifically, 69 percent who were violent at the age of 34 had eaten sweets nearly every day during childhood, compared to 42 percent who were non-violent.
Scientists aren't sure why.
"Our favored explanation is that giving children sweets and chocolate regularly may stop them [from] learning how to wait to obtain something they want," said lead researcher Simon Moore of Cardiff University. "Not being able to defer gratification may push them towards more impulsive behavior, which is strongly associated with delinquency."
The study is detailed in the October issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry.
"This association between confectionary consumption and violence needs further attention," Moore and colleagues write. "Targeting resources at improving children's diet may improve health and reduce aggression."