June 3rd, 2008
08:08 AM GMT
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LONDON, England – Let's get away my steady diet of doom and gloom and talk about something else. Bribing kids, in this particular case, kids who are obese. Forget educating your kid about nutrition. Cold hard cash works best.

Should obese children be offered cash rewards to lose weight?

Scientists in Switzerland gathered data on more than 100 families. The families had at least one obese adult and one obese child. They had to follow one of four programs including motivational letters and different diets.

The final option was cold hard cash, bribing the kid - five euros for every kilogram they lost, and five euros each time they improved their body mass index score.

In the words of Professor Claus Luley: "We found that giving the money works in children. They were certainly eager to get their hands on the money."

Now this little experiment got me thinking about the ethic of bribing kids to get them to do something.

Is it right for children to expect some sort of monetary or other material reward for doing something well? Or should a parent try and instill a sense doing something for its own sake, and that in itself is a reward?

In the financial world, bankers, traders, and others get performance related bonuses. So do sports stars, and people in sales.

So why shouldn't a kid get a type of performance related bonus? What's wrong with giving your kids money if they get good grades, or lose weight, keep their room clean, or whatever you deem is important?

Do such incentives for children teach them the wrong values, or is it really just a reflection of the way much of the world operates? In certain instances, I don't have a problem with it.

I look forward to hearing from you, tell me whether you agree or disagree.

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