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But study does not appear to clearly indicate whether it's part of a broader caloric problem

In 2011 and 2012 the U.S. federal government paid$7.3B USD in corn subsidies, most of which went in the pockets of "big corn" -- Cargill, Inc., Archer Daniels Midland Comp. (ADM), Gavilon, and ConAgra Foods, Inc. (CAG).  These corporations control roughly 60 percent of the market according to a 2007 National Farmer's Union (NFU) report [PDF], and have deep ties to top federal politicians (for example Gavilon co-owner George Soros donated $5M USD to President Obama and fellow pro-corn Democrats in the last election cycle).  

In addition to lining the pockets of big corn these subsidies have served to make corn syrup cheap, in turn propagating the sugary foods and beverages that use it such as pop/soda/coke.

I. Study Ties Sugary Pop to Violent Children

Researchers at Columbia University have performed a statistical analysis of data on 3,000 5-year-old children enrolled in the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, a study that's tracking both mothers and children in 20 large U.S. cities.

While much of the study -- including the Child Behavior Checklist -- focuses on psychological and sociological content, part of the study also focuses on diet, inquiring about soft drinking consumption.  This in turn offers some interesting opportunities to see if there's really a link between corn syrup and child misbehavior, which corn syrup's critics have long alleged.

The study found that 43 percent of children consumed one or more soft drink serving a day, while 4 percent consumed 4 servings or more a day.  A clear correlation was found between "aggression, withdrawal, and attention problems (i.e. ADHD)" and soft drink consumption.

But soft drinks are cheap; simple logic would suggest poverty would both predispose kids to behavior issues and to heavy consumption of cheaper foods.  But the Columbia team claims that even with "sociodemographic factors, maternal depression, intimate partner violence, and paternal incarceration" removed, there's still a clear correlation between "any soft drink consumption was associated with increased aggressive behavior."

Children who drank 4 or more soft drinks a day were found to be twice as likely to exhibit violent behavior -- breaking toys, getting in fights with peers, and physically attacking adults.

II. Is the High Fructose Corn Syrup or the Higher Caloric Intake in General to Blame?

Dr. Shakira Suglia, ScD, the study's first author comments, "We found that the child's aggressive behavior score increased with every increase in soft drinks servings per day."

The conclusions are controversial, given recent efforts by certain state and city governments (including Mayor Michael Bloomberg's New York City regime) to regulate soft drink consumption.

Soft drink ban
Some, like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, have pushed to restrict or ban soft drinks to curb public obesity and related health issues. [Image Source: AP]

The compelling question is whether the authors overlooked some correlation or greater overarching trend.  Despite the inarguable criticism over big corn and government handouts, the case against high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) is sketchier from a scientific perspective.  No sweeter than table sugar, and with a similar caloric profile it does not appear HFCS is significantly different from its more expensive traditional brethren.

On the flip side both sucrose and corn syrup consumption has risen sharply over the last couple decades as obesity in America has also spiked.  A technical paper [abstract] arguably sponsored by big corn (from the White Technical Research food and beverage industry consulting firm) raises this interesting chicken or egg dilemma in a recent 2008 paper in defense of HFCS.  While undeniably biased the paper does show data indicating that HFCS consumption has only risen roughly proportionally with the increase in overall calories.

Thus while there appears to be a clear link between HFCS and child misbehavior, it remains to be seen if the true correlation is between caloric intake and misbehavior.  If that was a case, it would still be an indictment of gov't subsidizing of corporate farming of high caloric foods (e.g. oil and sugar crops), but would provide a more rational scientific explanation for this otherwise confusing conclusion.

The paper on Dr. Suglia, et al.'s work was published [abstract] in The Journal of Pediatrics.

Sources: The Journal of Pediatrics [abstract], Elsevier/Columbia Univ. [press release]

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RE: Bad Parents
By Samus on 8/19/2013 5:42:42 PM , Rating: 2
Pastor Gets Two Years in Prison for Advocating Spanking

What the hell happened to that mans' first amendment!?

RE: Bad Parents
By Reclaimer77 on 8/19/2013 5:47:07 PM , Rating: 2
Or this guy:

This is not America anymore, not really.

Jason is spot on, of course. Political correctness and the nanny state mentality is destroying the fabric of the country.

RE: Bad Parents
By Monkey's Uncle on 8/19/2013 5:56:36 PM , Rating: 2
Did you read the article linked to that? It kinda goes into details about it.

RE: Bad Parents
By 1prophet on 8/19/2013 6:53:26 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe the ACLU should look into the details of this case, surely if they can defend NAMBLA this guy shouldn't be a problem for them.

RE: Bad Parents
By Mint on 8/20/2013 8:28:38 AM , Rating: 1
Did you read the article?

Caminiti did, however, reportedly demonstrate to parents how to use the rod. "The rod can be somewhat new and unfamiliar," said Caminiti, "And so, it's just a way of showing, teaching, explaining how practicing on oneself can just be helpful." During cross-examination, prosecutors questioned Caminiti on his biblical beliefs.

"And the purpose of the use of the rod is to cause pain, is that correct?" asked Dane County District Assistant Attorney Shelly Rusch.

"Yes," replied Caminiti.

Teaching parents how to hit their kids with a rod? We have long criminalized free speech that incites violence, and you have to draw the line somewhere. This seems reasonable to me.

RE: Bad Parents
By 91TTZ on 8/20/2013 10:54:15 AM , Rating: 2
What's the difference if they use a rod as opposed to a belt or a ruler? A nanny-stater would say that all 3 are "weapons" and obviously they're all meant to inflict pain. That's the point of spanking.

RE: Bad Parents
By Reclaimer77 on 8/20/2013 11:01:03 AM , Rating: 4
You honestly feel throwing a man in jail for two years is perfectly justifiable? Do you understand what that does to someone? The man's life has been irrevocably downgraded, all because he exercised his First Amendment rights.

He didn't hurt a child. He didn't do anything. The man spoke, he gave his opinion. The parents also have the right to NOT listen to his opinion. What violence was "incited" exactly? Do you have any evidence that even ONE child was spanked because of him?

You really make me sick with this. We have the largest percentage of our population in prisons in the civilized world. America! Home of the free? When you see innocent peoples lives destroyed over petty things like this, things our Constitution is supposed to protect, how can you approve? What is wrong with you!

RE: Bad Parents
By ClownPuncher on 8/20/2013 2:19:24 PM , Rating: 1
This does nothing to incite violence. People have free will, nobody is forcing anyone to spank their kids.

Maybe you should fuck off with your bullshit attitude. The first amendment needs no line drawn.

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher

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