The Dangers of Playing With Your Food

The "Cinnamon Challenge" is a dangerous food game that has lately become popular.

Did your mother ever tell you not to play with your food? Well, it turns out that she was giving you good advice! There are several “food games” that have become popular, and they are something to be concerned about.

The “Chubby Bunny” game has been around for a while. It involves a group of people putting one marshmallow in their mouths and then saying, “Chubby Bunny.” On subsequent rounds, players continue to add marshmallows in their mouths. When the group decides that someone can no longer say, “Chubby Bunny” in a way that can be understood, that player is out. The game continues until one person is left and can still say, “Chubby Bunny” with his or her mouth stuffed with marshmallows. Sadly, two choking deaths have been attributed to this game.

The current “food game” making the news is the “Cinnamon Challenge.” There are dozens of YouTube postings of people playing this game. The challenge requires the player to try to swallow one tablespoon of cinnamon in 60 seconds without drinking any water. The risks of this game include choking, lung damage from inhaling the cinnamon and extreme nasal irritation. There have been a number of hospitalizations from playing this game, including a Michigan high school student who spent four days in the hospital with a lung infection and a collapsed lung.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers reported that 88 percent of their calls in the first three months of 2012 were related to the “Cinnamon Challenge!” This game is especially dangerous for people with breathing problems, such as asthma and COPD.

Parents, caution your children against playing any food games. Even throwing popcorn or M&Ms in the air and catching them in your mouth is a choking hazard. Food is for eating, not playing.

By Betty and Doniese

Family Life Instructors at Avera McKennan

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