Advocacy / Food as Reward / School

White Paper: Use of Food in Classrooms

nofoodasrewardOne of the biggest obstacles today’s parents face in raising healthy kids is the use of food as a reward.  In my efforts to end this practice at schools, I’ve made an infographic, spoken at school board meetings and finally resorted to paying my kids when they turn down offers of food as a reward.  Public health experts always recommend looking upstream to solve issues, so it is critical to address this where teachers are being trained — at our colleges of education.

To help with that, I recently co-authored a white paper with Dr. Alicia Fedewa of University of Kentucky, College of Education and Anita Courtney, M.S., R.D., of Tweens Nutrition and Fitness Coalition.  The paper includes the role of schools in modeling healthy habits, research on using food as a reward, and strategies for classroom management without using food as a reward.  Below are a few excerpts from it and the full paper can be accessed here: WhitePaper

I hope this will be a valuable resource for parents, teachers, and others who want to see a shift away from this practice that is harming children’s health.  Please share it with those who will be able to use it to make a change.

Educators are missing the link between rewarding children in the classroom with food and events in the larger world around them…

If student teachers know the  disadvantages of food rewards and have tools for effectively managing classrooms, they will be better equipped to avoid perpetuating a practice that is detrimental to the health and well-being of students…

Though in the past it was common for Kentucky public schools to have smoking areas for both teachers and students and for principals to paddle children for misbehavior, those practices have significantly decreased as we’ve come to understand more about physical and mental health and child development…

The current childhood obesity epidemic and its associated diseases, as well as dental health issues, means we can no longer support the practice of giving children unhealthy food throughout the school day to shape behavior. The time has come for Kentucky to set standards around the use of food as rewards and in doing so, create a healthier culture and a healthier commonwealth.


5 thoughts on “White Paper: Use of Food in Classrooms

  1. Pingback: Helpful New “White Paper” on Food Rewards in the Classroom

  2. Pingback: School Wellness: 3 Ways To Get Involved This Year - Real Mom Nutrition — Real Mom Nutrition

  3. Pingback: In the Worry Over Halloween Candy, Are We Missing the Bigger Sugar Picture? - The Lunch Tray

  4. Pingback: School Wellness: 3 Ways To Get Involved This Year - Real Mom Nutrition

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