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.

Loading Slideshow...
  • How To Be A Positive Parent

    Tips on how to instill good behaviour in your child from an early age by using the 'positive discipline' approach, as advocated by the <a href="http://www.nspcc.org.uk/help-and-advice/for-parents-and-carers/positive-parenting/encouraging-better-behaviour/encouraging-better-behaviour_wda72886.html#positive_parenting_and_positive_discipline" target="_hplink"><strong>National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty for Children</strong></a> (<strong>NSPCC</strong>).

  • Show The Love

    You can never spoil your child by showing them too much love. Boost their self-esteem by making them feel cherished, safe and special.

  • Have Clear Rules

    Have clear simple rules and limits. Your child needs to know what the boundaries are, what is and is not acceptable. Keep it simple to avoid confusion and concentrate on behaviour that really matters.

  • Praise Good Behaviour

    Praise good behaviour that you want to encourage and chances are, your child will repeat this as they know there's a reward at the end of it.

  • Ignore Bad Behaviour

    If you ignore behaviour you don't like, it is less likely to be repeated by your child. Make it clear that you're open to communication when they are behaving, but not when they are being naughty or disruptive.

  • Avoid Direct Criticism

    Rather than telling your child off for being bad, identify what they have done wrong and criticise the behaviour instead. Direct criticism can cause your child to go into their shell and become shy and withdrawn.

  • Show The Signs

    Be as demonstrative as possible. Sweep her off her feet and praise her to when she's been a good girl. She'll remember how happy it makes her feel and make her want to be good again.

  • Step In

    If it looks as though your child's behaviour is starting to deteriorate, step in before things go wrong. Redirect them to another activity to avoid conflict. Acknowledge your child's feelings by saying, 'I know you are cross" but make it clear that it doesn't go beyond that point.

  • Let Go of Control

    Children need to learn about dealing with choices and decision-making. Don't impose your decisions on them all the time, let them have their say on little things and gradually increase this as they get older.

  • Never Be Threatening

    Never use threats or physical behaviour, as this will only make the situation worse. Negotiate solutions when there is a disagreement and remember to communicate to help dissolve the problem. This way, your child will end up understanding what went wrong and why you are upset with them.

  • Set A Good Example

    It's vital for parents to be positive role models for their child and practice what they preach. Actions speak louder than words. Let your child see that rules apply to everyone in the family, not just him or her.