Pizza's book it reading program- Is it making kids obese?

United States
March 12, 2007 7:34pm CST
Pizza Hut's Book It reading program has been around since 1985. The purpose of the program for the past 22 years has been to reward young readers nationwide to read a number of books every school year and in turn be rewarded with coupons for free pizzas. Now the reading incentive program is under fire from a child development experts from Yale, namely the group "Campaign for a Commercial- Free Childhood." According to this group Pizza Hut's Book it reading program "promotes junk -food consumption in the name of education and undermines parents by forcing them to visit Pizza Hut restaurants" Another crtitic stated that the program makes teachers corporate promoters. The book it program is the longest standing reading incentive program in the country. Schools all over the country use this program to build a student's interest in reading. I think the benefits to this program far outweigh any concerns about a few pizza coupons given out during the school year. Certainly the problem of childhood obesity will not resolved by getting rid of this program. Do you agree? Do you think free pizzas for a reading progam is sending the wrong message or contributing to the childhood obesity problem in this country?
2 people like this
28 responses
• United States
13 Mar 07
Oh, I think that is ridiculous! I heard about it the other day and I think people should concentrate on much bigger problems than whether a child eats ONE personal pan pizza a year!! I think it's a wonderful incentive for kids to read. It gets them excited about something as important as reading and learning. If they get this thing thrown out, then the next thing will be all the little incentive programs that are offered. My son is in Camp Fire and from selling candy, he got a coupon for ice cream from McD's and a burger from Sonic. Last year from teh library, he got the pizza from Pizza Hut. I think the incentives are great.
3 people like this
• United States
13 Mar 07
I remember that program from when I was in school. I do have to agree with you that it is making our children obese. I really think that there are other ways of rewarding kids, other than giving them free food. They really should try something along the lines of free books, or maybe a free movie rental. I know that its not good for kids to sit and watch tv all the time, but I do think that it is better than rewarding them with free food.
• United States
13 Mar 07
I don't think a little pizza every few weeks would make a child obese, its what they eat all the other times. i always enjoyed it. i loved to read anyway and my family was poor so we never had money to eat out, it was always a special treat to me and my little brother:)
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (101839)
• United States
13 Mar 07
Book It allowed me to have a night out with my kids when they would both feel special, and I could afford it much easier, since money was often tight.
1 person likes this
@ArsonCuff (3121)
• United States
13 Mar 07
No. I would rant a bit longer but it is stupid accussations and everyone wanting to point the blame like this that is irritating..NO pizza hut is not sending a bad message
2 people like this
@chertsy (3804)
• United States
13 Mar 07
I don't think the Pizza Hut's Book It reading program is making kids obese. I did this when I was in school and my oldest was able to do it. She got a tiny pizza once a month for reading so many books. I'm sorry but how is a tiny pizza once a month going to cause a child to get fat. I think if the parents made that child get up and go outside and play, ride a bike, kick a ball around, they will not become obese. It's not today's food's that is the main cause. Sitting inside and basically either watching tv, or playing games. Same goes for adults, if you don't get up and do something you won't burn anything off. With the weather starting to warm up, go outside for a walk or go outside and play a sport. See how fast you will burn the fat away.
@KrisNY (7591)
• United States
13 Mar 07
OK-- so my daughter participated in this as well as all other kids- The program gives 1 FREE personal pan pizza.. Just 1 a month- I cannot see how this would influence unhealthy eating and cause childhood obesity- I think this program gets the kids to read! Its a great program! Alot of kids including my daughter never liked to read.. She read though-- for these coupons.. Not that I wouldn't take her anyways-- But this just gave her the incentive. You know what - She is 10 now and no more book it for her-- But she loves to read! Hummm I wonder if Pizza Hut Book it had anything to do with it? People are just looking for people to blame! 1 pizza a month isn't going to hurt any child!
@bam001 (941)
• United States
13 Mar 07
When I read the line "promotes junk -food consumption in the name of education and undermines parents by forcing them to visit Pizza Hut restaurants" all I could do was laugh. I mean, come on, is the local Pizza Hut manager out taking the parent by the arm and literally dragging them in to the restaurant --No. Is there some kind of moral or social obligation for the parent to go to pizza hut? No... So, why is this program being attacked? Because it is an easy target. There is absolutely nothing wrong with the reward of a free pizza when children read a great deal. It seems like everything is being attacked by someone, and this time child development "experts" want to focus on a restaurant. UGH!!! Makes me sick...let's find someone to blame for whatever problem comes along.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Mar 07
No. I did it when i was younger, but it's not like my parents were taking me there every day. It was a special thing. If people don't want to participate they don't have to.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Mar 07
Did they ever think if the program was done away with it would promote illiteracy? *sheesh* It is a good program. I was in it when I was younger. I remember reading alot of books from it and seeing my pages go up during the weeks. Giving a child a small personal pan pizza once a month won't hurt them one bit. Yes, it does make the parents go to Pizza Hut more but that is good for Pizza Hut. Also aren't pizza good food and not really junk food? They have all the food groups don't they? Yes, they can be greesy but that little bit won't hurt you I think.
2 people like this
• India
13 Mar 07
well i dont know but why do i think that would rather inculcate in student a sense to study more rather than making them obese..... in childhood they are rathe ractive and so a little pizza, wouldnt make them fat..... or obese... clarify one thing in your brain...obesity never comes with consumption of some fats but with consumption of fats everyday..... and that isn't the case here.....
2 people like this
• United States
13 Mar 07
I participated in the book it program when I was in school and I loved the program, namely because I loved reading, the program was nice because, for a low income family like mine, it gave us a chance to get eat out. We only went every once in awhile, and unless you eat it constantly, pizza isn't that bad for you. I don't see a problem with their program. It's just a way to reward kids for their actions. I mean, no one said the parents have to take their children to eat there.
2 people like this
@MarkyB21 (1545)
13 Mar 07
It is important to remember that schemes like this ARE NOT developed to promote reading etc. they are developed to help promote the company running the scheme. I know this sounds a bit cynical but sadly it's true. These schemes can have very good results but they are designed primarily as a marketing tool. I think this particular scheme is at least the right way round - it would be worse if children were encouraged to buy pizzas to get vouchers for a free book. Surely there are better ways to encourage children to read rather than giving junk food as a reward?
• United States
13 Mar 07
I think the person going on about it is absurd. There is nothing wrong with the book-it program. I remember doing it as a kid and guess what--I got those little tickets but my parents never took me to Pizza Hut. But we did order pizza about once a week from a local place. My daughter is 6 and is doing Book-it this year. She has gotten 6 of them so far but we have only gone once to turn them in. Just because kids get the coupons does not mean they have to go eat the stuff and even if they use every single coupon it is just once a month--I don't see how having Pizza Hut once a month will cause obesity. I would think they would be more concerned with all those kids sitting around reading instead of out running around and exercising ::gasp:: maybe next they will be telling kids that reading is bad for them. Please.
2 people like this
@Mamaof2 (574)
• Canada
13 Mar 07
I do not think that this program is contributing to Child Obesity at all. What, they get a coupon every few months for a personal sized pizza. I think this program is doing nothing but good for our children. It gives the kids something to work towards and look forward to...in turn motivating them to read their books. Some children will read even more books then usual as they are aiming to get these coupons. I see nothing wrong with it..and if it takes a little incentive to get our children interested and enjoying reading..then bring on the Pizza Coupons!
2 people like this
13 Mar 07
I absolutely agree that the Book-It program is not the problem. Unless your kid is reading thousands of books, they're most likely not rewarded with more than a few personal pan style pizzas a year. This is not going to make them obese. It is their daily diets and lack of exercise that is causing them to become obese. And I'm sorry to say, but I think the root of the problem is often the parents. If you allow your child to eat McDonald's every day and spend hours in front of the television, of course they are most likely going to be an unhealthy weight! I think the Book-It program actually has a valuable lesson regarding food. It helps to teach kids that fatty foods like pizza should not be thought of as a diet staple, but rather as a rare treat. Most kids have to work hard to earn those coupons and are appropriately awarded. However, if you take your children out to eat everyday or allow them unlimited junk food, they will fail to see this pizza as a reward. Instead, it will be just like any other meal. While I don't necessarily agree with bribing children to learn, illiteracy is a major problem in the U.S. and if the Book-It program gives children an incentive to expand their minds, I think that it should be supported!
• United States
13 Mar 07
I think the idea of this program contributing to obesity is ridiculous. I remember this program from when I was young and I loved it because it combined my favorite two things reading and pizza. I think it does a lot more contribution to children reading than to obesity. And really McDonalds and other fast food joints are a lot more damaging to children's health than Pizza Hut. Its the parents responsibility to regulate what their children eat and to teach their children good eating habits. Failing that the school should teach the kids about the difference between pizza as a reward and pizza to excess.
2 people like this
• United States
13 Mar 07
I'm not sure how Book-It works now, but when I was in grade school, we got one personal pan pizza for each month of Book-It if we read 6 books, and the program went from September to February. I don't think that's an excessive amount of pizza. I agree with one of the above posters that a free movie rental or some other award might be better, though. But I know a lot of kids who wouldn't have read those 6 books without the reward. Personally, I would have read those 6 plus many more without Book-It because I love reading, but that's just me. I don't think giving kids one tiny pizza a month is what's making them obese. I think the problem is that kids have too many indoor, sedentary activities they partake in, and not enough active activities. That small pizza can contribute if they're just sitting around playing video games or whatever all day. But if they have that little pizza and then go outside and spend the next hour running around, playing sports, etc, then it's not a problem.
2 people like this
@jennybianca (12914)
• Australia
13 Mar 07
I guess it's a bit hyprocritical of them. After all, many pizzas are extremely fattening, with very little nutritious ingredients added to them. On the other hand, as a retired teacher, I would encourage just about anything to get a child reading. Also, pizzas can be healthy, as the weight watchers example can show. Just have a thin crust, healthy toppings and low fat cheese. It's so long since I have been to the pizza hut, that maybe they already have these healthy options.
@byfaithonly (10716)
• United States
13 Mar 07
I'm sorry but I was married to a man who taught at a trade college in the US and it was sad to see how many "high school graduates" couldn't read on a 5th grade level. On the other hand oh opps its the same hand, a couple pizza's a year are not what is making kids obese. If the parents think this then they need to go back to school or oh gee did you ever hear the word "NO"... I say give the kids pizza, get them to read, and get them outside to excersice instead of using the TV or video games to baby-sit the kids. P.S. I took a whole class of 5th graders to the ice-cream place down the road from the school - wanna shoot me too.
2 people like this
@Debs_place (10525)
• United States
13 Mar 07
If it is the only time those kids get pizza, then no, it is not making them obese, how many pizzas will the average kid get 2. Two pizzas a year will not make a difference if the rest of the time the kids eat healthy and they are active. Last week it was the girl scout cookies. IT is not the occasional treat, it is the fast food 5 days a week,the video games, TVs and lack of exercise. My son had a nick name in school, even before school. He was the dumpster. He ate more then any kid anyone had ever seen eat, at least one so skinny. He started swimming and skating at 3, hockey and soccer at 4, T-ball at 5, tennis, racquetball and golf at 10, lacrosse at 11, video games at 13. At home he rode his bike, roller bladed, played with his skip it, played street hockey and kick ball. It is time to put responsibility where it lies. The people who make the decision every day, every meal
@crystal8577 (1470)
• United States
14 Mar 07
I do not think that small personal pizza is making kids obese. I think if the kids are obese than there is more at play. My oldest loves to get her certificates for reading the books. It was a special fmaily night when I was in school to go to pizza hut once a month. I loved being able to have my own pizza with my one topping on it.
1 person likes this