Target: National Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Goal: End the use of candy rewards for children, both in school and at home, and replace them with healthier alternatives
For years parents, and even teachers, have used candy as a reward for children who exhibit good behavior. Getting good grades or completing chores have been rewarded by sugary sweets that contain little to no nutritional value. These sweet rewards end up motivating children to be on their best behavior or work toward academic success. Though these sugary or salty junk foods may serve as effective rewards, they can easily end up resulting in bad, life-long, eating habits that are acquired during a critical period of development.
The consistent intake of sweets and junk foods can cause serious weight problems for children at a very young age. Childhood obesity is increasingly prevalent, with one in three American children and teens being overweight or obese. This number is almost triple that of 1963. Childhood obesity can lead to even more serious health problems including heart disease and type-2 diabetes. Children who suffer from childhood obesity face an eighty percent chance that they will remain obese throughout their lives, making early healthy eating habits incredibly important.
Not only can the consistent intake of sweets lead to health problems, but it can also cause psychological problems as well. When children are given sweets as a reward for good behavior, they can tend to associate candy and sweets with love and acceptance, which can lead to emotional eating. They can learn to turn to sweets and junk food as a substitute for the love or affirmation they really need. Furthermore, children who suffer from childhood obesity, or are overweight, tend to have more psychological problems, including low-self esteem, depression, and a negative body image.
Encourage the Parent Teacher Association to commit to replacing candy and other junk food rewards with healthier alternatives, to prevent health and psychological problems for children.
Dear Parent Teacher Association,
Parents and teachers have used candy rewards for too long. Although candy and other junk foods can motivate students to get good grades and be on their best behavior, it can also lead to childhood obesity and other health and psychological problems. One in three American children is overweight or obese, and eighty percent of these children will remain overweight or obese throughout their entire lives, potentially leading to serious health problems such as heart disease and type-2 diabetes. It is becoming increasingly important to instill healthy eating habits in children at an early age, and giving unhealthy rewards teaches unhealthy eating habits.
Not only can candy rewards lead to health problems, but it can cause psychological problems as well. Children can learn that candy and junk food mean love and acceptance, and can turn to these unhealthy foods in the future as a substitute for the love and affirmation they are really seeking. In addition, children who are overweight are more likely to suffer from depression, low-self esteem, and negative body image.
Please protect the health and well-being of your children by replacing unhealthy candy, sweets, and other junk food rewards with healthier alternatives. Plaques, trophies, stickers, certificates, and fun activities are healthy alternative rewards that encourage good behavior and protect children’s health and well-being.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Michael Savino via Flickr