As a freelance health journalist, I cruise the digital headlines looking for story ideas about health news and medical innovations on a regular basis. Here’s one strange health headline that grabbed my attention last week – “Fizzy Drinks May Make Teens Explode.”
A closer look at the study abstract from the journal Injury Prevention revealed that the teens were indeed not blowing apart, but rather were found to have an anger problem associated with soft drink consumption. Here’s the scoop: a study among Boston teenagers found that those who drank more than five cans of soft drinks per week were significantly more likely to carry a weapon and to have been violent with peers, family members and dates. Frequent soda guzzling was associated with a 9-15% increase in the probability of engaging in aggressive actions, even after controlling for other factors like gender, race, body mass index, sleep patterns, tobacco and alcohol use and having family dinners.
At least the researchers were kind enough to point out that the association could be due to other factors that weren’t accounted for in the study and that a direct cause-and-effect relationship could not be proven. Yes! The survey’s major limitation was relying on self-reported data by the teens. Yes, again!
Bottom line: I suspect there is a group of teenagers in Boston somewhere having a good laugh about how they were able to skew this study’s results.