Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween and Health

In deference to the holiday, today's post will be of a slightly different nature than the usual fare -- a slightly different tone before we return to election mania.

Preventative medicine is vitally important. That is something that I believe few will quibble with. Emergency rooms are expensive; that has also been well established. Chronic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes absorb a huge amount of the funds in the health care system, an amount that proper prior behavior can reduce drastically. And Halloween? Halloween is just fun, right?

Like all good things there is dark side to Halloween, and I am not just talking hordes of kids on a massive sugar buzz. The Center for Disease Control has a page up on their web site that details a wide array of health and safety tips ranging from "be careful with toy swords," to advice on substituting health snacks for candy. It's comparatively short and presented as a bullet list, but a good starting point.

The one I really got the most out of this season was a piece by Samara Felesky-Hunt, for The Calgary Herald. Since massive snowdrifts of candy are about to blow through homes across the country her tips for reducing the impact are well timed.

[...] for now, you're dealing with the candy. Here are a few tricks to have up your sleeve before your kids are out of the door on the Halloween neighbourhood prowl.

Have a healthy dinner first. Having a well-balanced dinner with lots of veggies sets the tone for the whole evening. If you send them out with their tummies full, they're less likely to eat candy along the whole way. A healthy dinner -- or even a quick peanut butter sandwich with carrot sticks -- will help to prevent sugar highs and nasty tummy aches later.

The list goes on and is worth a look. You can strike a blow against diabetes, obesity, and sugar fueled hyperactivity all at once. (Hint: look under Sources below.)

SOURCE: "CDC- Halloween Health and Safety Tips" 10/08
SOURCE: "Halloween doesn't have to be unhealthy" 10/30/08
photo courtesy of C.J. Sorg, used under its Creative Commons license

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