‘Halloween Horror’ or ‘Healthy Halloween’ – Just how bad are sweets for our children?

Are children’s snacking habits setting them up for obesity and poor health and should we as parents take a tougher line on sweets, cakes and fizzy drinks between meals?

With Halloween just a couple of days away and trick or treating high on the list of activities, you may think that it is an innocent pursuit, but it could be harming our children.

Research has discovered youngsters will consume 3,190 calories from sweets alone as a result of their trick or treating, and apparently it is not just the kids that are affected but parents consume around 1,710 calories from the sweets collected by their little ones.

At the beginning of 2018, a new campaign from Public Health England (PHE) urged parents to limit snacks for children to two a day, 100 calories a piece, the aim being to reduce kids’ sugar consumption. According to PHE data, children eat on average 10kg of sugar every year, with about half of this coming from sugary drinks and snacks. Children aged 4 to 10 years should have no more than the equivalent of 5 to 6 cubes of sugar each day, but are consuming on average 13 cubes. This means they are on track to consume around 4,800 cubes of sugar by the end of the year, more than double the maximum recommendation.

If they are old enough, explaining that eating too much sugar can lead to health problems such as obesity, and that sugar is one of the biggest culprits for nasty tooth decay, could be an option. Remind them of this as you get your children to brush their teeth after eating their sweet treats.

Don’t make sweets or sugary snacks ‘forbidden food’ as that will make them even more attractive to children.

Maybe it’s worth remembering that sweets will last for a while and that they should only be eaten as treats and not all in one go! Sharing them with others is a good idea. Happy Halloween!

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