Teenagers who drink more than five cans of non-diet, fizzy drinks each week are "significantly more likely" to carry a violent weapon, a study shows.
The research, published in BMJ journal Injury Prevention, claims heavy consumption of soft drinks has the same impact as alcohol or tobacco on aggressive behaviour.
Just over 23% of young people who drink up to one can of soft drink a week carried a gun or a knife, the study found.
This figure rose to just under 43% among those drinking 14 or more cans every week.
Fourteen cans of fizzy drink a week also increased a teen's tendency to inflict violence on a partner by 12% and 23% towards peers, the study claims.
Violence towards siblings rose from 25.4% to over 43% after a heavy intake of soft drinks.
"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," said the researchers.
Findings are based on a study of 1,878 14-18 year-olds from 22 public schools in Boston, Massachusetts.
Thirty percent of respondents fell into the high consumption category – drinking five or more cans a week.
Intake of carbonated non-diet soft drinks was measured in cans (355 ml).
"This survey does not take into account family income and parenting practices and so what it can tell us about the behaviour of teenagers is going to be of very limited value," said a statement from the British Soft Drinks Association.
Your comments (terms and conditions apply):
"I completely agree that children should not be allowed to consume fizzy drinks. I too have experienced this with my son. He had just one glass of a well known fizzy drink and turned into the green monster!!! He behaved and acted completely out of character and became hyperactive and all after a single drink! It wasn't nice to see and very distressing to us as
parents, as we know that our son is not normally like that. We have therefore completely banned fizzy drinks in our house as a result and our son is now back to his usual self" - Helen, Essex
"Yes; I experienced this myself years ago with my neighbour's child always getting hyperactive, unable to sleep; when excess of certain sweets were taken. I advised one of my brothers to stop drinking fizzy drinks as certain additives in the drinks soften the bone density. Apart from weight gain and teeth decay; their are other disadvantages" - Hilda Singh, Enfield
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