Thursday, October 24, 2013

4,800 calories: That's what is in an average trick-or-treat haul

MAYWOOD, Ill. – For most kids Halloween is all about the candy. It is estimated that each child’s bag of goodies contains about 4,800 calories and has 3 cups of sugar and 1½ cups of fat. The real horror in the Halloween trick-or-treat bag is how it adds to an already scary epidemic of childhood obesity.

“Kids and teens love Halloween. It’s filled with fun parties, costumes and free candy. Halloween can be a great time as long as parents make sure their child doesn’t go overboard eating all that candy,” said Garry Sigman, MD, director of the Pediatric Weight Management Program at Loyola University Health System.
Sigman gives some tips for making Halloween happy and healthy.

Focus on fun, not candy. Find fun activities for your kids to do instead of just walking door-to-door getting candy. Plan a party with fun games or have a pumpkin-carving contest. You could watch a scary movie or have a costume parade.

Set limits. Limit the time your kids are out trick-or-treating. Instead of the pillowcase, look for a small bag that they can use to collect candy. When they get home let them pick out two pieces to eat and then put the rest away in a freezer or hidden place to save for another day. All children should eat no more than one or two pieces of candy a day. If children are obese, they should not eat more than one or two pieces of candy a week.

Host a candy trade-in party. When the kids get back from trick-or-treating, the candy in each child’s bag is weighed. Kids can exchange their candy for prizes based on the bag’s weight.

Not all treats are unhealthy and you can help your neighbors by handing out healthier treats. According to Sigman, healthier treats include:

  • Fruit leathers
  • Packs of sugarless gum
  • Boxed or packaged dried fruit like raisins
  • Single servings of ready-to-eat cereal, but look for ones with less than 10 grams of sugar
  • Lollipops
  • Jolly Ranchers
  • 100-calorie packs of cookies or snacks
  • Low-fat granola bars
  • Snack-size bags of popcorn
  • Non-food treats such as Play-Doh, spider rings, bubbles, temporary tattoos, sidewalk chalk or cookie cutters.

About Loyola University Health System

Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system that includes Loyola University Medical Center (LUMC), located on a 61-acre campus in Maywood, Gottlieb Memorial Hospital (GMH), on a 36-acre campus in Melrose Park, and convenient locations offering primary and specialty care services throughout Cook, Will and DuPage counties. At the heart of LUMC is a 547-licensed-bed hospital that houses the Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine, the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, a Level 1 trauma center, a burn center, a children's hospital, Loyola Outpatient Center, and Loyola Oral Health Center. The campus also is home to Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. The GMH campus includes a 254-licensed-bed community hospital, a Professional Office Building with 150 private practice clinics, an adult day care program, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, the Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.

Trinity Health is one of the largest multi-institutional Catholic health care delivery systems in the nation. It serves people and communities in 22 states from coast to coast with 93 hospitals, and 120 continuing care locations — including home care, hospice, PACE and senior living facilities — that provide nearly 2.5 million visits annually.