Combatting Childhood Obesity by Limiting Food Rewards

The HealthGal Health Guide
  • A couple in California decided that food rewards do not belong in the public library system, so they wrote a series of letter to LA library officials stating that fact.  Their feeling was that if you are going to reward kids for reading, why not use books, stickers and other non-food rewards as the incentive.  Pizza and ice cream celebrations have been a hallmark of library reading incentive programs but in light of the escalating rates of obesity and diabetes - does the couple not have a valid point?


    Some people feel you are just adding a Big Brother element to the very things our kids so enjoy by recommending we cut back on food rewards and celebrations.  A similar argument has revolved around making school birthday celebrations healthier too. And since I keep writing about how parents need to take charge and lay down fundamental nutrition principles in the home - I guess I'm feeling like if they are asked to do that and do so willingly - don't they deserve some support and help outside the home???  I've always said that if birthday cake were only given out a your own child's party then great - enjoy and party away with the whipped cream frosting.  The problem is that your kid at school will have 30 other whipped cream moments plus mom's, dad's, sibling' whipped cream celebrations; then there's anniversaries, graduation parties, holiday celebrations, sports celebration moments and the list goes on and on.  Do you realize juast how much unhealthy food is dished out in the name of celebrations?  And that doesn't include the typical weekend restaurant splurge, food splurges during travels and the food rewards that we give kids(and ourselves) for all kinds of accomplishments.

    Add This Infographic to Your Website or Blog With This Code:


    So I guess I'm saying - yes - we've gotten ourselves into a situation that requires a shift in how we celebrate and how we handle food rewards.  A cornerstone of lifestyle change is to make food rewards few and far between - not to cut them out - but to make them truly special and unique moments that we really savor.  If you can't, or if you can't help your kids to do that - then I'd ask you to examine why you have such a need for a "no control or censorship when it comes to dessert policy. 


    Every time I find a parent or person very defensive when it comes to food - I often wonder what makes it so precious and something other than just tasty fuel.  People who savor the joy of eating can still have intelligence and respect when it comes to portion control and positioning treats and beloved delicacies within the framework of their eating plan.  Nutritionists and health experts don't want you to surrender the joy of eating - they just want you to think more about your food decisions in the context of your health.


    And that brings us to Michael Phelps and "poster child for Frosted Flakes!!"  Just what was he thinking???

Published On: August 21, 2008