Critics denounce Pizza Hut reading program
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Author:  Catherine [ Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:12 am ]
Post subject:  Critics denounce Pizza Hut reading program

Critics denounce Pizza Hut reading program

You've read the book, now eat the pizza.

Since 1985, that's been the gist of Pizza Hut's Book It, an incentive program used by 50,000 schools nationwide to reward young readers with free pizzas. The program is now under attack by child-development experts who say it promotes bad eating habits and turns teachers into corporate promoters.

Book It, which reaches about 22 million children a year, "epitomizes everything that's wrong with corporate-sponsored programs in school," said Susan Linn, a Harvard psychologist and co-founder of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.

"In the name of education, it promotes junk food consumption to a captive audience ... and undermines parents by positioning family visits to Pizza Hut as an integral component of raising literate children," Linn said.

This week, Linn's organization called on parents to end their schools' participation in the long-standing program.

Though some activists have previously questioned Book It, Linn said Friday that only after the recent upsurge of concern over child obesity and junk food did her group feel it could make headway with a formal protest campaign. She said many schools are trying to reduce students' access to soda, and contended that Book It should face similar scrutiny.

I completely agree with the critics of the Book It program. When I was teaching, I never had my students participate in it, although they had done so in kindergarten and first grades. Rewarding children with food items like pizza for reading a book is done far too often in schools, anyway. Candy here, a cupcake there, coupons for food at McDonald's, Book It program, etc. contribute to lifelong unhealthy eating habits. There's enough of that going on already within their homes nowadays. It shouldn't be continued and encouraged at school, especially for doing something as basic as reading a book. Where's the incentive to simply read for the sheer enjoyment of it?

Author:  dori [ Sun Mar 04, 2007 7:28 am ]
Post subject: 

You are so right Catherine. But I fear this is going to be an uphill battle...

Author:  Catherine [ Sun Apr 01, 2007 7:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

This isn't about the Book It program, but the article continues to signify the dangers of children eating too much junk food:

[url=]Forget Big Tobacco—Big Food Kills

By Marie Cocco

WASHINGTON—If we are what we eat and we eat what is advertised, then American children are facing death by junk food.

Half of all the advertising time on children’s television shows is devoted to food ads, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation study of food advertising aimed at kids. And what do the commercials pitch? Candy, cereal, fast-food and other restaurants, soda and other sweetened drinks.

Just as surely as the tobacco industry tried for years—and succeeded—in hooking young kids on its deadly weed, the food industry is spending billions to advertise products that will make the next generation look and live like its porky parents: overweight, and at great risk of debilitating disease and early deaths linked to obesity.

Concerned by the lack of publicly available information about food advertising to kids, the Kaiser foundation went well beyond the 40 to 50 hours of programming that had typically been reviewed in earlier studies and examined 1,600 hours of TV fare. More important, the foundation reviewed all types of programs that children see—not just cartoons and other children’s shows, but sitcoms, reality shows, movies and others that older children prefer.

The result is an alarming portrait of kids who are bombarded with precisely the opposite message about food and fitness than the one the government and the medical profession agree is needed for good health. Children between ages 2 and 7 see 12 food ads per day—that’s more than 4,000 per year. Those in the next age group—the pre-adolescent “tweens” between 8 and 12—see even more. They’re tuned in to 21 food ads every day, or more than 7,000 every year. Teenagers see somewhat fewer ads, but even they will view 17 food ads a day.



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