While I enjoy seeing kids and adults in cute Halloween costumes, I abhor the TREAT factor of Halloween. As an ignorant child, teen and then younger adult, I went trick or treating, wore costumes and went to Halloween Parties. As a teacher and an adult, I was Richard Nixon more than once on Halloween, and one time in the late 1970s I was Aunt Jemima with black face paint—that would probably be politically incorrect today but there were no complaints in the 70s.
However, the last time we gave out treats, they were small boxes of sweet, organic raisins. Then a few weeks later, a neighbor accused me of being cheap because we did not hand out treats drenched with processed sugar. I’m talking about those bulk bags full of miniature Snickers, Twix, M&M’s, Juicy Fruits, Tootsie Rolls, Oh Henry!, Butterfinger, Starbursts, Hershey’s, Reese’s, Skittles, Kit Kat, Milky Way, etc.
Thirty years of teaching kids that consumed too much sugar is the reason why we stopped handing out sugar laced treats on Halloween. I witnessed what too much sugar did to my students—too much hyper energy, then lethargy leading to inattention and mood swings. It is a real challenge to teach a student that drank a sixty-ounce Pepsi for lunch and comes to class with glazed eyes.
I’d be willing to offer treats again but if I did it would be the apples on one tree in our back yard. By the time Halloween rolls around, the organic apples on that tree are crisp and sweet, but I doubt many of today’s children or teens would be willing to take the time to hike up our hillside backyard and pick one or two apples from the tree.
In fact, many children and teens of today even hate drinking water because it isn’t sugary sweet.
In the UK, according to The Telegraph, “Almost half of children say they do not eat any fruit or vegetables every day, according to a new survey.”
In the United States, the numbers are much worse. According to the US Department of Health & Human Services, “Only 21 percent of young people (in the US) eat the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables each day,” while “Soda consumption increased dramatically in the early to mid 1990s. Thirty-two percent of adolescent girls and 52 percent of adolescent boys consume three or more eight ounce servings of soda per day.”
CBS News reported, “According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control, kids are getting way too much added sugar in their diets and that could raise their risk for obesity and chronic diseases.
“Consuming added sugars has been tied to an increased risk for heart disease among adolescents and cholesterol problems,” according to the CDC.
In addition, “The amount of sugar consumed is still extraordinarily high,” Dr. Robert Lustig, professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, told WebMD. “The amount is still so far over what any rational physician, dietitian, or government agency would have us be eating.”
The American Heart Association says, “Today, about one in three American kids and teens is overweight or obese, nearly triple the rate in 1963. With good reason, childhood obesity is now the No. 1 health concern among parents in the United States, topping drug abuse and smoking.
“Among children today, obesity is causing a broad range of health problems that previously weren’t seen until adulthood. These include high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and elevated blood cholesterol levels. There are also psychological effects: Obese children are more prone to low self-esteem, negative body image and depression.”
Diabetes affects all parts of the body, particularly adult onset diabetes. If left uncontrolled, it becomes a killer, which destroyed every organ in the body—including the heart and brain. According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes and another 79 million are pre diabetic.
Are you a parent? Do you encourage your children to get into the Halloween spirit, wear a costume and then walk door to door filling a bag with sugary candy? If the answer is yes to both questions, do you really love your children?
The leading five companies that make and sell candy and soda employ more than 40,000 workers and have annual revenues of $40 billion. This industry has spend hundreds of millions of dollars on lobbying in Washington DC to stop any proposed consumer protection regulations. Source: IBIS World.com and Sunlight Foundation.com
His latest novel is Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.
And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to hate and kill Americans.
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