Thursday, December 6, 2007

Speaking of corporate interests in kids' eating habits ...

Straight A’s, With a Burger as a Prize. Over at the New York Times, Stuart Elliott talks about a Florida arrangement in which McDonald's gives kids free food in exchange for good report cards. They send report cards home in paper sleeves with information and advertising about the McDonald's reward program. It's criticized as just one more way that corporations are advertising to children in order to build life-long "brand loyalty." Interestingly, only one parent had complained at the time the article was written. (They also mention that they had no complaints when Pizza Hut gave away free personal pan pizzas as reward for good grades in an earlier promotion.)

Nutritionists and others warn against using food as rewards, under the argument that obesity is often about emotional eating, or eating in response to the need for comfort or the idea that we've "earned it" and that these responses may be influenced by eating patterns learned in childhood.