Halloween candy trade-in party to combat childhood obesity, Nov. 3
By Mary Sussman | Wed, 10/31/2012 - 10:09pm
Are the kids bouncing off the walls after eating too much Halloween candy this week?
Madison area children will have an opportunity to trade in their sugary Halloween candy for healthy treats on Saturday, Nov. 3 between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m., at the Meriter West Washington Clinic, 345 W. Washington Ave.
It's no trick. And it's a sweet deal.
The Halloween trade-in party hopes to bring attention to the growing problem of overweight and obese children – a problem that affects one-third of the children in Wisconsin.
"There are many, many more children who are obese now compared to in the '60s and ‘70s,” said Dr. Katy Cahill, pediatrician at the Meriter West Washington Clinic. “As pediatricians, we are really concerned about that, because we see adults who are obese and many of them weren't obese as children. So if you've got children who are obese, the chance that they are going to be obese as adults is almost guaranteed."
At the candy trade-in party, the children's candy will be weighed, and the children will receive healthy treats and a toy in exchange for the candy they trade in. Supplies are limited and the clinic encourages families to come early.
The party features a drawing for prizes, which include a bike, UW-Madison basketball tickets, a swim party for four, karate lessons, toothbrushes, fresh fruits, and a gift card for toys.
Free parking is available in the parking lot at the rear of the building. Pediatricians will be on hand to answer questions.
Cahill said that there is a growing problem of obesity for everyone in this country, especially children.
"To see the kids starting out heavy means that they're going to be at place when they're adults that's
even worse than where adults are now," she said. "As medical professionals we are terrified of what kinds of consequences that will have for all the kids that we take care of now when they grow into adulthood."
Cahill said obesity puts people at higher risk for diabetes, arthritis and high blood pressure, and the earlier the obesity starts, the sooner all of these complications emerge.
Pediatricians are focusing on preventing obesity while children are pre-schoolers and are counseling parents about healthy portions, foods, and eating habits, said Cahill. She noted that Americans have busy lifestyles and that parents do not always have the time to cook a healthy meal. All too often children snack on processed foods that have a lot of sugar and calories and even if they are offered a healthy meal, they may not be hungry because they have consumed too many calorie-rich snacks and beverages.
"We as pediatricians feel that we are at the starting point of things. If we can do really good education and make some changes for families for kids to be healthier while they are young, we are hoping to slow down the [obesity] trend," she said.
Don't worry that the surplus candy will go to waste. The clinic plans to donate the traded-in candy to Operation Gratitude, which will use it in packages for U.S. soldiers.
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