More than two-thirds of parents admit to feeding their children junk food as a ‘reward’ for good behaviour, a recent study has discovered.
According to research by MyVoucherCodes, 67% of parents use sugary treats, takeaways and fizzy drinks to encourage their children to curb their bad behavior – only 7% gave their child some fruit as a reward for being good.
Two-fifths admit to plying their children with chocolate and sweets and 22% feed their kids crisps in a bid to keep them in check.
The study questioned 1,200 parents on their approach to their children’s behaviour and why they give their little ones ‘rewards’.
Out of the respondents, 29% said that they did it because it is ‘cheaper’ than buying their child a gift. A further 36% said that they rewarded their children with food because it ‘encouraged’ them to continue to behave.
Nearly half of parents also revealed that they use junk food as a form of ‘bribery’, which enabled them to control their child’s behaviour by promising they would receive a treat as a result.
Child nutritionist Judy More, told HuffPost Lifestyle: "Children deserve to be fed nutritious food to maintain their health, growth and development. Any influences that portray junk foods as normal eating should be banned as it is incumbent on us as a society to teach children healthy eating principles so we optimise their health."
Child obesity is a growing problem in the UK. The National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP) estimated that 73,069 primary school children (aged 11) out of 499,867 are overweight and over 93,000 are clinically obese.
Around 82% of obese children go on to become obese adults and more likely to develop diet-related conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases at a younger age.