How to curb your child’s sugar intake on Halloween

The average trick-or-treater in America will consume around three cups of sugar (or about 7,000 calories of candy) on Halloween, according to one industry report.

Buried beneath that mountain of sweets is an already pressing concern about the amount of sugar Americans (kids and adults alike) eat on a daily basis, the growing research that suggests that excess added sugar in the diet has strong links to cancer, and the already strong ties to obesity, diabetes, and heart and other cardiovascular diseases.

So, how’s a parent supposed to keep their child from overindulging on Halloween?

“I always like to remind parents that they’re the ones in charge,” said Ryan M. Mascio, D.O., F.A.A.P., Medical Director of Outpatient Pediatric Services at Crozer-Chester Medical Center. “In other words, it’s their responsibility to moderate their kids’ candy intake.”

Immediately after trick-or-treating, sift through your child’s haul and remove any obvious threats, such as opened packages and choking hazards for toddlers. Fresh fruit, too. It may be a welcome sight, but there’s no way to guarantee it hasn’t been tampered with.

Then, allow your child to pick out one or two small pieces of candy on the condition that they brush their teeth and get ready for bed when they’re done. Discourage anything with exceptionally high sugar content, like Pixy Stix.

During the next few days, reward them with a piece after they finish their homework or their chores. But don’t make a habit of it.

“Eating a couple pieces of candy occasionally over the days that follow isn’t necessarily going to harm your child’s long-term health,” Dr. Mascio said. “However, it becomes a problem when they’re doing it day in and day out.”

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About Crozer Keystone Staff

Crozer-Keystone Health System’s physicians, specialists and advanced practitioners are committed to improving the health of our community through patient-centered, quality care across a full continuum of health services. Crozer Brinton Lake is Crozer-Keystone’s comprehensive outpatient care facility in western Delaware County, offering primary care, specialty services, outpatient surgery and advanced cancer treatment. Contact us: 300 Evergreen Drive, Glen Mills, PA 19342 http://www.crozerkeystone.org/Brinton-Lake 1-855-254-7425

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