News 068: Do not give children sweets

Studies have shown that children who are receiving as a reward for good behavior, candy and other sweets are having in their adult live serious weight problems. A survey of more than 2000 people showed that those who encourage eating sweets in childhood, as adults, suffer from serious problems with their weight and have eating disorders.

For me as a doctor, nothing is more important than human health, and particularly the health of our children. As you might know, many of our habits and are deeply rooted in childhood, eating habits are no exception. Attempts by parents to «bribe» children by giving them sweet gifts can lead to serious consequences. The risk of obesity for these children is much higher than those whose education is not built on the sweets. Just as shocking is that 25% of these children developed obesity at an early age. Obesity epidemic is graping the planet. The number of people whose BMI surpasses 30, already is close to 50% in many countries, including Russia.
When British scientists conducted their research on eating behavior of children and the  impact parents have they were surprised. When parents occasionally give their children something sweet, the harm is already done. Even worse, rewarding children with sweets when they behave well or when they are sad results in lots of trouble down the road. Children will become accustomed and even depended on sweet foods.  And linking this to sweets means that in adult life to celebrate or when they want a better mood sugary foods are hard wired into the brain.

All this does not mean that children should not be pampered, quite on the contrary. There are many studies around child nutrition and best is to teach them early on what is good and what is bad form them. And do not use sweets as present or motivator. For me as a dietician this is key, since I do not want our kids in Russia to become as overweight as in the US.

Ekaterina Belova


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