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How to have a healthy Halloween without ruining the fun

Posted on October 28, 2012 By Hope Gillette

Let’s admit it: for most children, Halloween is all about the candy. Dressing up in a fun costume and wandering the neighborhood with family and friends is just a perk for what will otherwise be a night laced with candy-induced dreams. However, a healthy Halloween is still possible!

For the parent who wants to provide a healthier experience on Halloween, there are some great options which will keep the night fun without disappointing the ghosts, witches and wizards who come to the door. For other parents looking to manage a child’s candy intake, there are some tried-and-true tricks to keep sugar highs at bay.

Managing a child’s candy intake on Halloween

Managing a child’s candy intake can be as simple as portioning out a daily ration from the Halloween candy bowl. You could even restrict candy intake further, picking on day of the week for the treat.

These are some other creative ways to keep candy intake to a minimum:

Make children ask for candy: In addition to rationing out candy, making children ask for it can be a good way to moderate how much is consumed. Place the candy out of sight and tell your child there is a limit on how much can be had daily. Only give out the candy when your child asks for it. Most parents find the candy gets forgotten about when it’s not directly in the line of sight.

Keep candy in the refrigerator: Keeping candy in the refrigerator will keep it fresh, but most children find the candy is more difficult to chew when it is cold. If they want it, they will have to wait for it to warm to room temperature. Remembering to pull it out ahead of time can greatly reduce the amount children request sugary treats.

Make children eat something healthy, too: To temper the amount of sugar that comes with Halloween candy snacking, parents are urged to align candy allotment with another meal or with a healthy snack. While this doesn’t eliminate the candy consumption, it does associate healthy foods with snacking, too.

Make it a business: If you think your child has an entrepreneur spirit, propose saving the candy for a few days and then selling it in a yard sale. Funds can be re-invested in something they’ve been asking for or donated to their local charity.


A healthy Halloween

Small toys make a great alternative to candy for parents who want to provide a healthier Halloween

The flip side of the coin for parents is how to make it a healthy Halloween andgive out healthy alternatives to candy. Most people think of vegetable bags and rice cakes when they think of healthy snacks, but don’t chase kids away with such undesirable items. 

Pediatric Safety recommends some fun alternatives to Halloween candy.

  • Stickers
  • Fake tattoos
  • Small toys
  • Packs of sugar-free gum
  • Packs of hot chocolate
  • Sweet treats like trail mix
  • Small jump ropes
  • Art supplies like crayons or chalk
  • Glo-sticks

Halloween general safety

While keeping snacks regulated in order to have a healthy Halloween is important, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) remind parents general safety is also important.

Children who are heading out for the night should;

  • Wear visible costumes
  • Never visit unlit houses
  • Avoid walking near lit candles or torches (fire hazard for flammable costumes)
  • Avoid homemade treats
  • Use reflective tape on shoes and candy bags
  • Keep accessories such as knives and swords soft to prevent injury if a child falls

 

source: voxxi.com


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What’s really scary about Halloween: Crossing street, not tainted candy

By Beth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press October 17, 2012  

NEW YORK, N.Y. – Hey, mom and dad: Halloween’s not really all that scary — except when it comes to traffic safety.

Despite warnings about tainted candy, candle fires and even child abductions, real Halloween headlines are rarely about any of those things. Instead, tragedies related to the holiday typically involve trick-or-treaters hit by cars. Fortunately even those accidents are relatively few in number.

And here’s something that might surprise you. A study published in 2010 in the Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics found that the most emergency room visits involving children around Halloween are related to sports.

The report stated nearly 18 per cent of injuries on Halloween were to the finger and hand, and a third of those were lacerations, with some likely resulting from pumpkin-carving. But the report added that “a much higher proportion of injuries that occurred on Halloween were associated with sports, including football and basketball, than with knives.”

Which is not to say parents should spend Oct. 31 relaxing. (Are parents ever allowed to relax?) Obviously, you need to know where kids are, monitor candy hauls, and make sure they can see out of their masks and won’t trip on their costumes. But here are some statistics to provide a reality check on what’s really scary about Halloween.

TAINTED CANDY: URBAN LEGEND VS. REALITY
Of course you should examine goodies and make sure kids avoid treats that aren’t sealed.
But know this: “There isn’t any case of a child killed or injured from a contaminated treat picked up in the course of trick or treating,” according to Joel Best, a professor at the University of Delaware who has extensively researched the subject.

Best says there have been more than 100 reports of tainted treats going back to 1958, but they include a father who poisoned his child to collect insurance money, incidents where someone gave out booby-trapped goodies but nobody was injured, and cases where kids had food allergies.


CAR ACCIDENTS
According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation, in four out of six years between 2006 and 2010, more pedestrians under the age of 21 were killed by cars on Oct. 31 than on Oct. 30 or Nov. 1.

The numbers are small: A total of 16 deaths took place on Oct. 31 during those five years, compared to 11 on Oct. 30 and 10 on Nov. 1.

But a quick survey of news stories from 2011 suggests that traffic safety on Halloween is one area where parental vigilance is warranted. Last year, children and teenagers trick-or-treating or heading to Halloween parties were injured or killed in Salt Lake City, Las Vegas, Egg Harbor Township, N.J., Port Bolivar, Texas, Lower Allen Township, Pa., and Colorado Springs, Colo. Most cases involved pedestrians hit while crossing streets or walking along roads; one case resulted in a drunk driving arrest. In another case, parents were injured along with their child.

One way to increase pedestrian visibility on Halloween: Have kids carry a flashlight or glowstick, or add glow-in-the-dark necklaces or reflective tape to costumes.

DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILDREN ARE?
Statistically it’s rare for children to be kidnapped by strangers, but it seems like there’s always a case in the news. In the last few weeks, a girl was found murdered in Colorado and another child was abducted, then found, in Wyoming. So it’s understandable that Halloween makes parents nervous, with kids out after dark, sometimes unaccompanied by parents, often approaching strangers to ask for candy.

Obviously parents should keep track of kids, stay in touch by cellphone with teens, and make sure younger children have adult supervision.

But perhaps you’ll find this reassuring: There is no data to suggest an increase in reports of missing children on Halloween, according to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.

FIRE AND DEVIL’S NIGHT
Candles are often used for spooky decor and to light pumpkins. Be mindful if kids in billowy costumes are nearby.

But the fact is, according to Dr. John Hall, division director of the National Fire Protection Association, “there is no localized spike in reported fire injuries around Halloween.”

In past years, there has been a phenomenon called “Devil’s Night,” especially in the Detroit area, of arson at abandoned properties. A 2005 report from the U.S. Fire Administration noted that “on Halloween, and the night before, incendiary and suspicious structure fires are about 60 per cent more frequent than on an average day.” But the number of fires has been decreasing thanks to community and police patrols and other efforts. In 1984, more than 800 fires were started in Detroit during the Halloween period, compared to 169 in 2010 and 94 last year.

source: timescolonist.com


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Why Society Doesn’t Change: The System Justification Bias

“Society’s tendency is to maintain what has been. Rebellion is only an occasional reaction to suffering in human history: we have infinitely more instances of forbearance to exploitation, and submission to authority, than we have examples of revolt.” (Zinn, 1968)

Have you ever wondered why society hardly ever changes? I think most of us have.
One answer is that humans have a mental bias towards maintaining the status quo. People think like this all the time. They tend to go with what they know rather than a new, unknown option.
People feel safer with the established order in the face of potential change. That’s partly why people buy the same things they bought before, return to the same restaurants and keep espousing the same opinions.
This has been called the ‘system justification bias’ and it has some paradoxical effects (research is described in Jost et al., 2004):
  • Poor people don’t strongly support the sorts of political policies that would make them better off. Surveys find that low-income groups are hardly more likely than high-income groups to want tax changes that mean they will get more money. Generally people’s politics doesn’t line up with their position in society.
  • Oddly, the more disadvantaged people are, the more they are likely to support a system that is doing them no favours. This is because of cognitive dissonance. In one US example of this low-income Latinos are more likely to trust government officials than high-income Latinos.
  • Most disturbing of all: the more unequal the society, the more people try to rationalise the system. For example in countries in which men hold more sexist values, women are more likely to support the system.
People seem to rationalise the inequality in society, e.g. poor people are poor because they don’t work hard enough and rich people are rich because they deserve it.
Incredibly, this means that some (but not all) turkeys will keep on voting for Christmas.
source: spring.org      Image credit: kris krug