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Would you give a child drugs?

Date Posted: 14/02/2023 Posted By: Steve

Dear Domestic Helpers,

As professionals, caring for children requires a lot of attention and dedication. That’s why it’s essential to ensure you’re providing the best care for the kids in your charge.

One of the best ways to do that is to ensure that they eat healthy foods, avoiding sugary snacks as much as possible. Not only will it help keep their energy levels up, but it’s also beneficial for their overall health.

Think of it this way: the healthier the kids in your care are, the healthier you’ll be. Eating sugary snacks can hurt your health, so it’s essential to set an excellent example for the children and avoid them yourself. Plus, kids who are high on sugar are no fun!

By making smart food choices and avoiding sugary snacks, you’ll be helping the kids in your care become healthier and more energetic. So, let’s make the smart choice and keep the sugary snacks away!

Your Employer

P.S. I put together some background reading for you...

Would you give a child drugs? Yes, you would. (You already do)

Sugar is a drug. It's addictive, and it kills.
There's a lot of information about sugar addiction, but we need to know how it impacts world hunger.

Candy dealers in a nearby kindergarten

Sugar Addiction

  • Sugar affects the brain. When we eat sweet foods, our brain releases dopamine. This is a chemical that gives us pleasure and makes us feel good. But, when we overeat sugar, the brain stops releasing enough dopamine. As a result, we need more sugary foods to get the same satisfaction. Over time, this can lead to addiction.

  • In a 15-year study, scientists found that people who consumed high amounts of sugar had an 83% greater risk of developing type 2 diabetes. This is a condition where your body can't produce enough insulin to regulate blood sugar levels properly.

  • Sugar is addictive, and numerous studies have proved this. Sugar activates the same pleasure centres in your brain as drugs do, which can lead to a craving for more sugar. One study followed children for 15 years and found that those who ate more added sugars had more significant increases in BMI than those who didn't eat as much added sugars (4).

Malnutrition in Developing Economies

In developing economies, malnutrition is a severe problem. In these countries, many factors contribute to poor diet quality and inadequate food supply. These include:

  • Poverty makes children sugar addicts. Poor people often don't have access to healthy foods and rely on cheap processed foods that are high in sugar and fat but low in nutrients.

  • Most of the food produced in these countries is exported, so there isn't enough left for local consumption.

  • The cost of fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, and meat is often beyond the reach of poor families.

  • Lack of access to safe water and sanitation means that people often drink sugary beverages, which are also high in calories and contribute to obesity.

  • Poor healthcare means that people with diabetes, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases are unlikely to receive adequate treatment. They may also be less likely to have access to healthy food options in their neighbourhoods, which means they eat more junk food.

Nutrient Deficiencies in Developed Economies

Meanwhile, in the richer 3/4 of the world, kids have access to healthy food but don't eat it. Instead, they gorge on unhealthy snacks like pizza, fries, burgers, chicken nuggets and a myriad of toxic snack bars - then they wash it down with soda pop.

Nutrient deficiencies can seriously affect a child's physical and cognitive development. In addition to the effects of malnutrition, there are also consequences of obesity:

  • Diabetes is now the most common cause of death in children. This can be prevented by eating healthy snacks and avoiding processed foods. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 1 in 4 deaths of children under five are caused by undernutrition, while obesity is responsible for 1 in 20 deaths worldwide.

  • Heart disease in children is also on the rise and is predicted to be the number one killer of children by 2030. This can be prevented by eating healthy foods, not smoking or drinking alcohol while pregnant, not smoking around your children and encouraging them to get at least an hour of physical activity every day.

  • Sugar causes cancer in children. Sugar is one of the causes of cancer in children. According to the American Cancer Society, a diet high in sugar has been linked to an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer.

  • Research shows that people who consume large amounts of added sugars have higher levels of insulin circulating in their blood, increasing their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Fat rich people?

Malnutrition is a global problem that affects both developed and developing economies. In developed countries, the prevalence of overweight and obesity is higher than underweight and malnutrition, while in developing countries, the opposite is true. According to the World Health Organization, 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese, while 462 million are underweight [1]. Among children, 52 million under-fives suffer from wasting, where they have a low weight for their height [2]. The 2018 Global Nutrition Report revealed that the government of China is facing the second-largest undernourished population, with overweight and obesity levels rising at alarming rates and diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as diabetes on the up [3]. Most forms of malnutrition across all parts of the world – from rural plots to city blocks – are rooted in poverty and inequity [4]. Children who live in extreme poverty in low-income countries, especially in remote areas, are more likely to be underfed and malnourished [4].

Are things getting worse?

In the last few decades, obesity rates have risen dramatically. In the United States alone, over one-third of adults are considered obese. This was a significant increase from 30 years ago when only 15% of Americans were classified as obese.
The health risks associated with obesity are well known: heart disease and diabetes are just two conditions that can be caused by carrying too much weight around your middle. Obesity also increases your risk for certain cancers, such as breast cancer in women and colon cancer in men (1).
In addition to these well-known causes of death and illness, there may be another reason people should watch their waistlines: genetics! Some research suggests that genes are essential in determining whether someone becomes overweight or obese (2).

Is sugar addictive to humans?

Yes, sugar is addictive to humans. Studies have shown that sugar can activate the same areas of the brain as drugs of abuse and can lead to dependence on sugar to release endogenous opioids and dopamine in the brain. This can lead to a cycle of cravings and binging on sugary foods. For example, a 15-year study found that people who got 17-21% of their calories from added sugar had a 38% higher risk of dying from cardiovascular disease than those who consumed 8% of their calories as added sugar [5]. Additionally, research has shown that eating sugar increases the release of serotonin, a neurotransmitter that gives us a "happy" feeling [6].

The role of sugar in obesity is a topic that has been widely researched and debated. A recent study published in The Lancet found that a high intake of added sugars was associated with an increase in body weight, as well as an increased risk for heart disease and diabetes.
Although it's clear that there is a link between sugar and obesity, the exact nature of this relationship remains unclear. One theory suggests that eating too much-added sugars may cause you to feel hungrier later on because your blood glucose levels rise quickly after consuming them (causing you to eat more). In contrast, another theory states that it may have something to do with how easily digestible carbohydrates are converted into fat by the body--either way, we know that eating too much-processed food can lead directly to weight gain!

Malnutrition and Obesity

Malnutrition and obesity are two sides of the same coin. A lack of food can cause both, but they also occur when people overeat or the wrong kind of food.
Malnutrition is a deficiency in one or more nutrients that leads to health problems such as stunted growth and poor mental development in children or micronutrient deficiencies like iron deficiency anaemia (IDA). IDA is associated with an increased risk of maternal mortality during pregnancy; it's estimated that 300 million women worldwide suffer from IDA during their lifetime.
Obesity occurs when you have too much body fat for your height and weight--it can be caused by overeating junk food or not exercising enough. In 2017 there were 1.9 billion overweight adults globally.[1]

The Role of Sugar in Malnutrition

Sugar is a significant contributor to the global burden of disease. It has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and obesity.
In addition to these chronic diseases, sugar contributes indirectly to undernutrition through its impact on food choices and nutrient intake.

What's the best menu for hungry kids and sugar addicts?

So kids should eat green vegetables and healthy proteins and avoid sugary snacks. What about the rest of the world? How do we stem the rising tide of sugar consumption and fix world hunger?

The best solution to world hunger is a multi-faceted approach that focuses on treating severely malnourished children, preventing children from becoming malnourished in the first place, breaking the cycle of conflict and hunger, embracing climate-smart agriculture, and providing access to nutritious food and resources. [7] This approach should include providing food aid, investing in agricultural development, improving access to nutrition, and promoting education and economic opportunities. [8]

I've had enough; how shall we split the bill?

Okay, so who's going to pay for this? Fortunately, it seems to be the best investment and should comfortably turn out to pay for itself.

The International Monetary Fund estimates that the annual financing gap for Sustainable Development Goals, including Zero Hunger, is between $300 and $400 billion. To finance solutions to world hunger, there needs to be a new development finance settlement that repays historical debts and is equal to the current needs of the population in the Global South. This could be achieved through increased wages and improved safety net programs, creating jobs, raising wages, increasing opportunity, and sharing prosperity.

The financing of solutions to world hunger should come from both public and private sources. Governments should invest in safety net programs and other initiatives to reduce poverty and hunger. Private sources, such as philanthropists and businesses, should also invest in these initiatives, research, and development to create more efficient and effective solutions. [9]

The Centre for Food Safety (CFS) in Hong Kong has been striving to reduce dietary sugar in Hong Kong by implementing a nutrition labelling scheme for prepackaged foods and preparing Trade Guidelines for Reducing Sugars and Fats in Foods. [10] Employers of domestic helpers should also provide a food allowance of no less than $1,121 per month and should not ask their domestic helpers for receipts and track how they spend their allowance. [11]

The World Bank estimates that for every dollar invested in nutrition, the return is $16. [12] In addition to this economic benefit, investing in nutrition has been shown to improve child survival rates, increase productivity and economic growth, and prevent stunting and wasting in children under five years old. [13]


The world's population is growing, and more people are becoming obese. This is a severe problem because obesity can lead to many health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes. In addition, obesity causes malnutrition in children who are not getting enough nutrients from their food because they have too much sugar in their diet.
In conclusion, there are many ways that sugar affects our bodies negatively, including making us fat, sick or even dead!


  1. https://www.who.int/news/item/26-09-2019-malnutrition-is-a-world-health-crisis

  2. https://www.who.int/health-topics/malnutrition

  3. https://www.unicef.org/press-releases/2018-global-nutrition-report-reveals-malnutrition-unacceptably-high-and-affects

  4. https://features.unicef.org/state-of-the-worlds-children-2019-nutrition/

  5. https://www.health.harvard.edu/heart-health/the-sweet-danger-of-sugar

  6. https://www.cnet.com/health/are-you-addicted-to-sugar-how-to-beat-sugar-addiction

  7. https://www.concernusa.org/story/world-hunger-solutions/

  8. https://www.wfpusa.org/articles/how-to-end-world-hunger-6-zero-hunger-solutions/

  9. https://www.wfpusa.org/articles/how-to-end-world-hunger-6-zero-hunger-solutions/

  10. https://www.cfs.gov.hk/english/programme/programme_rdss/FAQ_Sugars_Trade.html

  11. https://www.helperchoice.com/c/domestic-helper/salary-food-allowance

  12. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/nutrition

  13. https://www.who.int/nutrition/topics/nutrition_glance/en/



[1] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4359232/
[2] https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072933/#bib-1
[3] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2211124716300849