Children with Debit Cards Eat More: A Research

Kids eating luch at school

Developing the taste for healthy food items in kids is tough for many parents. Things are tough for parents who are working or are not around their kids to watch them eating. Kids generally like to eat fast food & desserts and dislike to have healthy options such as fruits and vegetable. Unhealthy food raises the risk of obesity in children just as in adults. 

Researchers from Cornell University, studying what makes kids overeat has found some strange facts. They say the use of card or cash mostly govern the choice of kids. A kid paying cash for the school lunch is more likely to select healthy food options than the kid paying through a card. Behavioral economist Brian Wansink stated that probability of children opting desserts is much higher if they are making payments using the cards over healthy options of fruits and vegetables. Whereas kids paying cash mostly buy fruits and indulge much less in desserts.

The study included observing the behaviors of 2,300 students of grades one through twelve, from 287 schools across the nation. The study showed that the students using cards were likely in the habit of overeating than the one buying their meals using cash. On the contrary, students who were given cash for their meal payments were three times more likely to purchase healthy stuff and in-turn they consume 10 percent less calories.

As per the researchers the reason behind such behaviors is that the use of card are more abstract than hard cash and so students generally over look the long term consequences. As parents often pay in advance for students meal in the school and so while buying, students are not financially bound or worried and tend to buy unhealthy food products. They are not worried of what they are eating and the consequences of overeating like obesity and other health issues are long-term results for the young ones to be really concerned off.

Brian says that school need to take few measures to refrain students from opting unhealthy products. He suggests that snacks, candies and desserts should be made available for the purchase only through cash whereas fruits and veggies could be purchased using either of the option. When in schools cookies were placed at the back which was not in the reach of the students, there was a sharp decline in the overall purchases of the cookies just because students need to ask the staff to hand over them the cookie which took extra time. Students were in too hurry to wait and buy cookies and to eat their lunch with their friends they would let go buying cookies.

Next time you handover your card to your kid, make sure he/she buys healthy food products and keep away from fast food and desserts.

Source: Science World Report

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