Health professionals are describing obesity in children a national epidemic. About nine million kids are affected which means 15 percent of American children, aged 6 to 11 years are considerably overweight. This number has actually tripled in the past 30 years.
Almost 7 million American children and teenagers are believed to have high cholesterol levels. Results from the Bogalusa and Muscatine studies indicate that children with elevated LDL cholesterol levels are at high risk of becoming adults with elevated LDL cholesterol levels.
Overweight kids are on a fast track to cardiovascular disease and diabetes, diseases that we usually associate with middle-aged adults. Pediatricians are alarmed at the rapid rise in the incidence of type 2 diabetes in children and adolescents. Recent reports reveal that up to 40 percent of children with newly diagnosed diabetes have type 2 diabetes, the type closely associated with obesity.
There are a variety of ways you can begin to improve health during Halloween. Of course you can start by choosing healthier treats like pretzels, fun-shaped crackers, "100-calorie packs" of popular snacks, or mini granola bars. Maybe you could even go through your child’s candy stash and pick out only appropriate candy or you can do a "trade-in" program and offer them money for some of their candy or other prizes.
Did you know there are things you can do before your child goes out that can help the haunting Halloween effects of weight gain? First, you could make sure you really serve your child a very healthy meal before they head out. Fill their plates with good proteins and veggies. You can also make sure your child drinks plenty water throughout the day and offer them a small water container as they head out.
Limit the size of your child's Halloween bag. Make the bag special and let them know when it's full, they are done. This gives you control before they even head out. When kids get back, offer them a quick healthy snack before they dive into their cornucopia and sugar sweets. Maybe a piece of cheese, help of peanut butter sandwich, but try to make sure they are full before they indulge in candy.
Finally in the days after, make sure your child gets extra exercise. Have them go for a walk before they can eat a piece of candy or offer them a chore that can help burn calories. Make sure they continue to drink water and be sure to offer them plenty of proteins and vegetables.
We wish your children and happy, safe and healthy Halloween.