A Moment of Science

Put Down The Food! It Is Not A Good Way To Calm A Temper Tantrum!

Have you ever given food or candy to a screaming child to get them to behave?

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Photo: crysb (Flickr)

Giving a treat to a child may seem like a great way to end a temper tantrum but it can lead to obesity.

Say you’re out somewhere with your kid, and he’s having a meltdown. Crying, screaming, kicking–you name it. Desperate, you spot a vending machine and promise the little troublemaker a treat if he’ll settle down. A chocolate bar or two later, your child is now appeased.

What’s The Problem?

Calming temper tantrums with food is a common strategy. But although it may work in the short run, using food to sooth agitated kids could backfire when it comes to weight gain.

According to a one study, parents who defuse their kids with treats may raise their risk for becoming obese.

Why Is There A Risk?

Because, according to the study, it could create a link between eating and comfort in kids prone to anger. It’s well known that adults who associate food with comfort are more likely to be obese. The same mechanism might affect kids.

Now, obesity is complex. There’s no one factor that raises or lowers your risk for being overweight or obese. Your gender, level of education, income, where you live, who your friends and relatives are, even your DNA–everything plays a role.

The Future…

Further study is necessary to strengthen the case that using food to soothe children leads to obesity. But it makes sense that not only what we eat, but also why we eat matters, too.

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