Halloween is the night when ghouls and witches are allowed to roam the neighborhood for a reward of candy and treats. But with diabetes and obesity nearly epidemic in the U.S., it’s time to look at ways to keep the spooky alive while focusing less on unhealthy sweets.
Diabetes and Obesity Statistics
Halloween can post a medical dilemma for millions of people who want to participate in the scariest of all nights!
Diabetes: The American Diabetes Association website states that 23.6 million children and adults in the U.S. have diabetes (almost 8% of all Americans) with another 57 million people pre-diabetic. Additionally, one in every 400 to 600 children has type1 diabetes, with another 2 million children aged 12-19 pre-diabetic.
Obesity: The CDC has stated that obesity in the U.S. has increased dramatically over the past twenty years with thirty-three states claiming 25% of its population as obese. 17% of children and adolescents under nineteen are obese in our country, with an astonishing 10% of children between the ages of 2 to 5 considered obese!
NYC: Healthy Halloween and Green Halloween Team up
Last year on October 1, 2009, a Healthy Halloween pilot program was launched in New York City in response to the childhood diabetes and obesity epidemic our country faces. It was called Green Halloween in NYC, which included street parties, complete with a gala costume affair, street artists , DJs, parades and floats. Their goal was to put the kabosh on “sugary snacks” and “cheap throwaway plastic decorations”, replacing them with creative fun and healthy food.
“Healthy Halloween” is an educational initiative that merged with the New York Green Project to promote the concept. Twenty-eight New York City high schools, and seven other schools nationally, embraced the vision in an attempt to change the thinking about what Halloween should be. Their overall goal is to redirect energy toward spooky and enjoyable creative projects and alternative healthy fun food as a substiture for processed sugary candy.
This year, the event in New York is called the World Financial Center’s Screamin’ Green Halloween. This event continues to campaign for a healthier holiday through various fun Halloween activities. They will have educators that will teach how to make masks and costumes from “funky recycled materials”; they will be holding a costume swap where people can exchange last year’s costume for a new one. New Yorkers will be “Bowling for ghosts”, then participating in a Ghosts & Goblins Parade that ends at a spooky poem reciting event, complete with healthy seasonal snacks.
I applaud New York City for their efforts to transform Halloween into a healthier holiday. Why not help plan a Healthy Halloween in your city? Our children deserve a healthier future and this spooky holiday may be a good time to start!
Have a safe, happy and healthy Halloween!
“Plan a Healthy Halloween This Year”
American Diabetes Association: diabetes.org
Centers for disease Control and Prevention: cdc.gov