October 18, 2008

Yet Another Belgian Pre-Adolescent Alert!

Next time you have to pass a group of edgy-looking pre-adolescents on the street corner of a U.S. city, relax. American kids are peace-loving compromisers who are vastly less likely to initiate trouble than, say, Turkish or Icelandic youths.
I base this on the World Health Organization’s study of the “fighting habits” of 11-year olds from 41 countries. (There’s a summary here in the Economist. That’s its chart, BTW.)

As you can see, an 11-year old American boy is half as likely to get in a brawl as a French-speaking Belgian girl. (One off-site wag suggests that “American kids are too obese to form a fist, let alone throw a punch.”) Another big North American surprise is Canada’s relatively high rating. One reader from the Great White North posits that Canadian kids are more prone to fisticuffs because they play hockey. Could be! (That might also explain Russia’s high achievement in belligerence.)

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