As teenagers we often hear it complained of us, that as a generation we are becoming more and more aggressive. However, recent research by the University of California has suggested that parents who feed their children an unhealthy diet early on in life, could inadvertently cause their child to develop aggressive behaviour later on in their adolescence.

For 14 years, researchers followed the nutritional and behavioural development of over 1000 children of both genders and several different ethnicities, who lived on Mauritius. Researchers looked for signs of malnutrition at age three, assessing whether the children were lacking in necessities such as Protein, Iron and Vitamin B.

Then, as the children started to grow older and develop, aggressive tendencies began to develop: At age 8, many teachers gave feedback that the children involved were irritable and prone to picking fights with others. At age 11, the feedback came from parents who told researchers about whether their children lied, cheated, got into fights, bullied others, destroyed property or used obscene language. And finally, at age 17, both parents and teachers reported on antisocial behaviour such as stealing, drug use, destroying property or being deliberately cruel to others.

Compared to those in the control group, who were fed on a good diet as young children, the malnourished children showed a shocking 51% increase in aggression by age 17. It is clear that these findings are already causing problems for many countries, including the United States of America, where 7% of toddlers suffer from iron deficiency. By looking at such research, it becomes arguable that if parents focused on feeding their children healthier diets, rates of violence could be greatly reduced.

So whose fault is it that scenes of violence amongst the younger generations are being reported more and more frequently? Certainly not the children’s.