I’ve written about the problems of trying to be active as a family without exposing children to the harmful effects of soda and fast food marketing. It’s also becoming more difficult to find events that don’t tie sugary treats to exercise. Messages about running in order to eat more are on the rise, as well as cake, ice cream and donut 5K’s.
This weekend is the Sweet Blessings Fondant 5K and 1 Mile Cake Walk which features ice cream and cupcakes. The race benefits a non-profit that provides birthday cakes for children in poverty. This is a cause that really speaks to our emotional connection to the birthday cake as a symbol of love and the use of food to express love. Ensuring a child has a birthday cake moves many people to donate their time, talent and money in a way that ensuring a child has an adequate diet of nutritious fruit and vegetables does not.
The “challenge” of the race is that runners will have a one hour time limit goal to cross the finish line after eating a dozen glazed Krispy Kreme donuts halfway through the race.
Since binge eating is one of the core symptoms of most eating disorders, we don’t need 5Ks to complicate the relationship between food and exercise. Coke already does enough damage marketing the message that soda is full of “happy calories.” Let’s teach children to use food and exercise as allies for health instead of using cupcakes as a reward and exercise as a punishment.