Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Is Candyland Making Kids Fat?

Should Children Play Candyland?

That's the question Megan Romer asked in her headline this week in her gaming editorial at

She first makes the case that the pre-school boardgame offers no educational benefit and continues with "the game is based on a fictional land which is made completely of candy. Right now, over half of American children are considered obese. Should we really be subjecting our children to subliminal messages that candy is fun and wonderful and magical?"

This type of thinking reminds me of the decision by Sesame Street to take away Cookie Monster's cookies and change his tune from "C is for Cookie" to "Cookie is a Sometimes Snack." Yeah, yeah, blasphemous, I know!

I don't know about you, but the idea that the 55-year old board game, Candyland, is "subjecting" children to sublimal messages that are making them eat more candy is silly. How did children in the first 30-years of the games history manage to stay trim?

Oh, that's right - they didn't eat gobs of candy, junk food and sodas each day; they actually played outside regularly and their schools offered recess and phys-ed; their parents saved treats for special occassions and their daily diet was mostly home prepared foods with very limited occassions for a fast food meal.

Let's not forget, until the 1980's there were probably, at best, only nine to twelve television stations to choose from for the majority of people in the US, home computers didn't exist in any significant number, nor did home video game players.

But, ya know, it's Candyland that's making kids think that candy is fun, wonderful and magic and causing them to eat too much of it. Please! Give me a break!

For a child, candy is wonderful and fun, and who knows, maybe even magical ---- that is not the problem.

The problem is giving them too much of it.

I for one, who totally believes that added sugars are part of the problem in the obesity epidemic, recognize how important childhood is and how influential we adults are in the lives of children.

It is we - the parents and adults around children each day - who set the stage for what is "normal" for diet and who set the limits on things like candy.

What happened to the common sense of simply keeping things like candy as an occassional "treat," like it used to be considered years ago?

Ms. Romer is taking comments on her article - Forums!

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