Soda Pop Kills!!!


Results. Adolescents who drank more than five cans of soft drinks per week (nearly 30% of the sample) were significantly more likely to have carried a weapon and to have been violent with peers, family members and dates (p<0.01 for carrying a weapon and p<0.001 for the three violence measures). Frequent soft drink consumption was associated with a 9–15% point increase in the probability of engaging in aggressive actions, even after controlling for gender, age, race, body mass index, typical sleep patterns, tobacco use, alcohol use and having family dinners.

This from a professor from the Harvard School of Public Health and a colleague, so you know the result is not only true, but perhaps even persuasive.  We can now put soda on the shelf with divorce and bad moms as proven killers in America.

A 9-15% increase?

A Small Windowpane would be 50% so this is about one quarter of Small.  And, yet, these ratios are statistically significant at .01 to .001!  Of course, when you have over 1800 cases drawn at convenience, you’ll have plenty of Cohen power so that even a 9% effect will be SSD and you’re off to the presses at Injury Prevention.  So, we have an effect that is barely detectable above random variation drawn from a convenience sample and now you need a concealed carry license for Coca-Cola?

Listen to this.

“It was shocking to us when we saw how clear the relationship was,” he told AFP in an interview.  But he stressed that only further work would confirm — or disprove — the key question whether higher consumption of sweet sodas caused violent behaviour.

This from Harvard prof, David Hemenway.  I’m not sure what research and stat methods book they use at Harvard, but it appears to be the classic, Persuasion Double Talk:  Talking Out of Both Sides of Your Mouth.  Yeah, we’ve got a shockingly clear relationship, but we need more research.  Do I smell a grant application in the air?

Yeah.  We need to do more research.  More research on the peer review oversight both at the journal, Injury Prevention, and whatever funding source approved this Observational Tooth Fairy Tale.

Hey, kids, you are living in the midst of the next great bubble.  Nobody thinks when they read Health Science.  They just believe the Discussion section and researcher interviews in pop press with words like shocking and huge and significant.  And then everyone opens their wallet and spends more money or effort on Expert Advice while getting no benefit from it.  Some day people are gonna wake up and smell the Tulip Bulbs.

She looked over at Tyler sprawled in his dad’s Barcolounger, a spent six pack of Pepsi scattered on the floor around him.  Tiffany shivered with fear.

She’d read David Hemenway’s research, shockingly clear research.  She knew that Tyler was spoiling for a fight and that she was the only one in the room.

As Tyler rose from the lounger, Tiffany wished her parents had divorced so she might have some of the inner rage divorce creates in kids.  Maybe then she could defend herself against the impending soda fueled assault.  But – and she scowled at the thought – her parents loved each other and her; they didn’t even smoke or eat cured meat!

She knew she was at the mercy of Tyler’s uncontrollable, but predictable, rage with nothing but science to protect her.  Tyler burped a long, wet belch and Tiffany closed her eyes tightly.

“When will Harvard save me?” she thought and then the room went black.