Halloween Safety

Halloween Safety

by | Oct 30, 2020 | Safety | 0 comments

Happy Halloween, everyone!

We can’t wait to see all of your costumes virtually 🙂 We’re sorry Halloween won’t be the same this year, but there are still many creative ways to make it fun! Here are some fun things parents are doing for their kiddos:

  • Halloween themed house scavenger hunt
  • Virtual Halloween parties
  • Watching Halloween movies
  • Decorating Halloween snacks
  • Drive-by excursions to see different Halloween house decorations. Sort of like looking at Christmas lights!
    • The Royal Hawaiian had a nice drive by for the kids last week with a bunch of characters. So awesome!

We hope you enjoy your Halloween! Please stay safe. In case you missed it, we posted several Halloween tips to stay safe during the pandemic on our Instagram and Facebook. Check it out!

We know there will be lots of delicious candy to snack on. While we encourage healthy snacks, you do have to let your kids have fun! But of course, do so in moderation.

So with that said….what better time to talk about sugary drinks and snacks than right before Halloween?! Muahahahahahaha.

Sugar, Sugar

Why worry about my child’s sugar intake?

Increased sugar intake has been linked to several preventative diseases such as diabetes and obesity. Usually these diseases develop due to unhealthy habits over a period of years. All the data is still in progress, but obesity trends are worsening due to the pandemic. Now is the time to make a difference! Again, this is where our preventative medicine kicks in. We love primary care!

What’s the Limit?

The American Heart Association (AHA) couldn’t say it any better. KIDS ARE SWEET ENOUGH. Per the AHA, children ages 2-18 years old should have no more than 25 g of sugar per day. That doesn’t seem like much or may seem like a lot to some of you. These numbers can add up quickly to 25 or more than 25 grams easily. AHHHHHH.

Here are a few examples:

  • Snickers- 20 g
  • 1 can of soda – 40 g
  • Capri Sun – 13 g
  • Welch’s fruit snacks – 6-22 g (depending on the size of the pouch)
  • Chobani Yogurt – 15 g

Luckily, Hawaiʻi has an amazing program that tries to raise awareness of sugary intake while also promoting a healthier lifestyle!

Hawaiʻi’s 5-2-1-0 is a healthy lifestyle initiative that promotes the following:

  • 5 fruits and vegetables per day
  • 2 hours of screen time (maximum) per day
  • 1 hour of physical activity per day
  • 0 sugary drinks.

OMG did they really just say zero sugary drinks?! Yes, we did. Now, I spoke with an amazing Native Hawaiian nutritionist, and she emphasized a very good point. Not everybody has access to fresh fruits and vegetables. And for those that utilize federally funded programs, it’s possible that they receive food and drinks that may not quite follow our recommendations.

Our goal at Keānuenue Pediatrics is never to make you feel guilty but rather to educate and raise awareness. We’ll always advocate for water over juice. However, if some type of juice satisfies your child’s craving, please choose 100% fruit juice. We can still work together to get them to focus on water over time. 🙂 And if there are other ways that you need help trying to figure out how to get more fruits and vegetables in your child’s tummy, within the confines of your family’s budget, time, and taste buds, let us know so we can put our heads together!

What are examples of healthy snacks?

I’m currently working on a handout that includes pictures of healthy snack options so you can show it to your kids! 🙂 Stay tuned!

In the meantime, here are a few examples!

  • Fruits with some type of nut butter (apples & peanut butter are a classic combination for a reason)
  • Vegetables with hummus
  • Edamame
  • Popcorn
  • Low-sugar yogurt

A couple of other questions I get about sugar consumption.

Q: Is it true that sugar has addictive qualities similar to that of cocaine?
A: This is a controversial topic. There is some evidence to suggest that there are increased dopamine receptors and increased bingeing behaviors with increased sugar consumption. However, this was mostly demonstrated in animal models. There is some human research investigating this concept in adult individuals who are obese but so far in humans, the data is inconclusive.

Q:  Doesn’t fruit have a ton of sugar? How is that any better than the sugars we find in other snacks or juices?
A: Yes, they both have sugar in it. But they have different types of sugars. Whole fruits have more glucose and fructose while the added sugars like refined sugars may have more sucrose and fructose. All of these sugars in the end will have similar chemical structures. The main difference though is the unhealthy snacks will commonly have added sugars or refined sugars. Even if our body processes sugar the same, we have to think about how that sugar is getting into our bloodstream, how much of the sugar is being consumed and what additional nutrients our body gets from consuming each product.

Let’s take the example of choosing an orange versus orange juice. An orange has about 13 g of sugar while the orange juice could have up to 48 g! That’s almost four times as much! Fruit also has fiber. Fiber is extremely useful for helping us feel full (and other important bodily functions). So, eating whole fruits will help you feel full versus drinking juice which might not satisfy your craving. Also, when you eat the orange, think about the effort it takes to break down the food. Your body will have to break down the different components of the fruit before the sugar is able to get released into your bloodstream. Compare this to juice where the sugar is much more easily absorbed right into the bloodstream.

Phew. That was a lot of words. Summary: Eating fruit still has sugar, but the amount of sugar and the additive benefit of other nutrients within the fruit is much healthier than candy or juice.

Now, we don’t want you to feel bad. Enjoy Halloween with your kids. This newsletter is an opportunity for us to raise awareness about how much sugar some of our snacks might contain. When you have a moment, take a look at the nutrition label!

HAU’OLI LĀ HELEUĪ from Keānuenue Pediatrics and this little snake!