Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Past Deadline: Eat Chocolate and Go to Jail, Kid

So here’s one of those headlines that makes a personal news blackout seem like a darned good idea: “Chocolate can make your kid violent for life.”

Huh? Or how about this: “Study: Kids who eat too much candy may be more likely to end up in prison as adults.”

Huge. Dramatic. Sigh.

According to these stories, some 17,000 British children born in 1970 were studied for about four decades. Of those who ate candies or chocolates every day at age 10, “69 per cent were later arrested for a violent offence by the age of 34.”

Now I suppose I could go all “holier than thou” on this subject since, as I wrote last week, I recently packed our sugary junk stash into a “Snack Box” and relegated it to the scary basement. I should probably take heart, too, that my kids weren’t eating junk every day anyway and, besides, they are years away from being 10.

Assuming the Snack Box stays in the basement for another few years (which will probably lead to a column about an interesting study in my basement – yech), then there’s a darned good chance my kids will stay out of jail when they are 34, right?

And why 34? (Too literal. I know.)

Researchers were quick to point out more study is needed and the link between candy and violence may have more to do with decision making and gratification issues. Parents who bribe kids to behave by offering sweets should be sent to the moon, for example. Likewise, it may have something to do with an inability to defer gratification – this constant desire for sweets.

So now I’m just going to say “no” to my kids all the time. It’s for their own good. (Yes, too literal again. I know.)

For now I’ll stick to the “better nutrition leads to better behaviour” philosophy.

A friend of mine who has young kids alerted me not only to the chocolate story, but also to another study indicating mothers of young children don’t get to exercise enough and that is going to cause a public health problem later as all of these fat moms pass middle age.

“They needed a study to tell them that?” she said. Then we spent a half hour trying to figure out when we would be able to go running together. The middle of the night next Thursday is looking good.


It’s amazing how hard it can be to find a half hour to exercise. That is precisely why I fell off the wagon the last time I put real energy into exercising. Now it’s silly season. Work is busier, school’s in, and two moms looking for a little exercise three times a week also have to juggle various hockey, swimming, dance, husband and volunteering schedules if we want to run together. (You’ll notice I didn’t even try to include cleaning the house on that list. Just don’t come over. Besides, we have no chocolate here.)

Sure, it would be easy to go our separate ways and squeeze in a run whenever suits our own schedules, but I can tell you right now what would happen. Winter’s coming. The weather is colder and wetter. Life is more hectic at this time of year. I betcha I would fall off the wagon again.

Even though I know my virtual running buddy in Calgary, the one who got me going on this new adventure in July, is counting on me to hold up my end, it sure is a lot harder to do it when someone isn’t physically showing up at my door to go for a run. When there is no one there to keep you accountable it’s a lot easier to postpone the run or to go but think about taking a walking break partway through or cut it a minute short at the end.

And so, in the interest of good health, we juggle. Throwing a pair of running shoes amid the myriad of hats turning in the air just keeps it interesting.

I’ll have to add chocolate bars into the juggling mix so my kids won’t be able to find them and go to jail. Is juggling good exercise?

(Published in The Perth Courier, Oct. 6/09)

1 comment:

Sparky said...

Man. It seems "they" are always coming up with new things for us to worry about. Will they ever run out?