Thursday, October 16, 2014

Candy as rewards?

Recently I've experienced candy and other unhealthy foods are being given to students as rewards for good behavior and class work.  Am I the only one who sees what's wrong with this?

In an attempt to keep a positive environment in the classroom, educators are contributing to an epidemic. 

In 2012, the percentage of children aged 6-11 years old in the US who are obese is nearly 18%. This is an increase from 7% in 1980. Pediatricians report that children as young as 6 are being diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. 

  • Four out of five children are not eating the minimum recommended number of servings of fruits and vegetables. Instead, they are consuming foods of low nutrient density such as candy, cookies, chips and doughnuts.
  • Children spend an average of 4 hours a day watching TV or other electronics. 
  • Less than half of children are physically active for an hour everyday. 
  • Approximately 11% of children 4-17 years of age (6.4 million) have been diagnosed with ADHD as of 2011.
Research shows candy “rewards” become more desirable to children than if they had not been used as rewards in the first place. We were all born with a natural preference to sweet tastes.  These preferences should be sated with natural fruits and veggies. 

Offering an unhealthy food to a child for doing a 'good' job sends mixed messages. How can you back up teaching wellness if you're promoting unhealthy eating? 

I applaud the parents who take responsibility for their children's health and promote heathy eating habits and lifestyle.  I also applaud educators who have a 'zero candy policy' in their schools.  That's a true investment into their students future!

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