Are we making our kids fat?

June 5, 2012 BY: LISA

A recent article in the Herald Sun reported research from Deakin University which stated that there was a link found between those parents who used food as reward for good behaviour and overweight/obesity in the child.

There were differing opinions as to the suitability of using food as a reward- is it actually a problem? Let me ask you a question: Do you have an issue with emotional eating? Do you tend to allow yourself treats if you have had a bad day, or a good day for that matter? Did your parents use food as a reward? If you answered yes to any of these questions or know someone who could, I will let you come to your own conclusion as to whether this is a good thing to teach your children or grandchildren or not.

In my opinion you are definitely doing your child a disservice if you teach them to associate food and emotions in any way. As a Dietitian I deal every day with people struggling with weight and trying to change the association between food and emotions.

For some people the action between feeling any kind of emotion and eating is so entrenched that they do not even understand that there is another way and that the approach they use is quite illogical.

If you are frustrated or angry how do you expect a chocolate bar to fix this in any meaningful way in the long term? People argue that it does make them feel better in the short term but in the end they just feel guilt or disappointment particularly if they are trying to lose weight.

So using food as a reward to children gives them messages such as:

  • If I have done well in the future I can reward myself with food
  • If I feel down and want to feel better, I can recapture the good feelings from my childhood by eating.

These are long term behavioural issues with food that last into adulthood not to mention the short term weight gain as kids which arises due to having too much high fat high sugar foods.

There is a place for these foods and it’s sometimes not every day.

What do you think?




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