Posts Tagged ‘childhood obesity

Teens work out for free this summer!

- June 19th, 2013
teen fitness

GoodLife Fitness has good news for teens.

One more reason to wish I was a teenager again: a free GoodLife Fitness membership this summer.

For the fourth year in a row, GoodLife Fitness is offering its free Teen Fitness Summer Program. That means youth from 12 to 17 years old get complimentary access to GoodLife gyms across Canada from July 2 to Aug. 31.

Here’s the press release:

Research Study Reports: ‘Canadian Teens need to be more active.’

GoodLife Fitness Responds with FREE Teen Fitness Summer Program!

For Immediate Release

[London, ON]— GoodLife Fitness launched on-line registration for the 4th annual FREE Teen Fitness Program. The program is available for youth between the ages of 12 and 17, providing complimentary access to GoodLife Fitness Clubs from coast-to-coast from July 2nd to August 31st.

The statistics tell the story. According to the Canada Health Measures Survey 2010 over 26 percent of children and youth are overweight or obese and 60 percent of Canadian youth do not get the required daily physical activity for optimum growth and development. Additionally, 93 percent of children and youth are not meeting Canada’s Physical Activity Guidelines as outlined by Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP).

More recently, Active Healthy Kids Canada gave Canadian Children a D- on their annual Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth. In addition to low levels of inactivity, 69 percent of youth, ages 12-17, are spending increasing amounts of their lives sedentary and watching much more than the CSEP recommended two hours or less of screen time per day.

teens at GoodLife

Teens averaged three workouts per week during last summer’s program.

“Many different research studies clearly show that Canadian Teens NEED to become more active,” says David “Patch” Patchell-Evans, GoodLife Founder & CEO. “GoodLife’s Free Teen Fitness Program was implemented because we knew it was important to take a leadership role and be a part of the solution. At GoodLife, we are passionate about helping Canadians of all ages get moving and active and we are thrilled that so many Canadian Teens have gotten involved in our program.”

“We want to provide all Canadians with the opportunity to live a fit and healthy good life and we know the importance of starting these healthy habits at a young age,” says Patch, who has four teenagers. “The growth of the Teen Fitness Program has been fantastic over the past three summers, with more than 38,000 teens participating last summer.”

Last year, teens who signed up for the FREE summer program averaged approximately three  workouts per week, the recommended amount of vigorous activity and strength training for youth ages 12-17 as outlined by CSEP (Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines).

“GoodLife is very excited for the growth of the program and the fact that the teens who sign up are using the club regularly and reaping the benefits,” says Kathy MacKinnon, GoodLife Vice President of Operations and the lead for Teen Fitness. This year we have even more enthusiastic GoodLife Associates are available to ensure that all teens have the proper club orientation, instructions and tips to ensure their workout experience is safe, fun, effective, and a building block for a healthier and more active future.”

All Teen Fitness participants must register with a parent or guardian at www.teenfitness.ca and bring the completed registration form into the club.

Upon receiving their membership, teens will be given a full orientation that outlines: club etiquette, rules and safety guidelines, workout tips, safe and proper use of strength training and cardiovascular equipment, Group EXercise classes, and appropriate workout apparel.

For more information or TO REGISTER YOUR TEEN, visit: www.teenfitness.ca

teen stretches

GoodLife’s Teen Fitness Summer Program runs from July 2 to Aug. 31.

GoodLife Kids Foundation grants $275K in 2012 to get kids active

- December 20th, 2012

It’s always encouraging to see good corporate citizens like GoodLife Fitness lend a hand in the ongoing battle against childhood obesity.

Check out the following press release:

GoodLife Kids Foundation

GoodLife Kids Foundation grants $275,000 in 2012 to get Canadian kids Active

GoodLife Kids Foundation is rapidly becoming a leader in getting Canadian kids off the couch and into their running shoes.  In 2012, GoodLife Kids Foundation through its national Grant Program, allocated $275,000 to organizations and programs across the country that have the mandate of getting Canadian children active while also striving for sustainable behavioural change.

With the full support of GoodLife Fitness, and with childhood activity expert, Olympian Silken Laumann at the helm as the GoodLife Kids Champion, GoodLife Kids Foundation is poised to help tens of thousands of Canadian children get active in 2013. Since 2009, GoodLife Kids Foundation has helped almost 200,000 children across Canada get active and has allocated close to $1 Million through the grant program.

“Together we can ensure that physical activity and healthy eating become a part of every Canadian child’s daily living,” says Silken Laumann, GoodLife Kids Champion. “It is our passion and mandate to work with like-minded organizations to help make concrete and sustainable change with children and youth across the country. We want to put our children and youth on the path of good health and success and stop the progress toward an unhealthy and inactive society.”

Key 2012 GLKF Grant Recipients:

• KidsAbility Centre for Child Development Centre – Kitchener-Waterloo/Guelph/Cambridge, ON

• Larkhall Academy – St. John’s, NL

• NStep Eat Walk Live – Calgary/Edmonton, AB; Richmond/Surrey/Sunshine Coast, BC

• Hugh Cairns V.C. School – Saskatoon, SK

• Children’s Health Foundation – London, ON

• Girls On The Run Ontario

To view all of our grant recipients in 2012 please visit: http://www.goodlifekids.com/grant-program/map_grants/

TO APPLY FOR A GRANT VISIT:

http://www.goodlifekids.com/grant-program/granting-program/

GoodLife Kids Foundation (GLKF) 


GoodLife Kids Foundation is a Canadian private foundation with a vision for every Canadian kid to have the opportunity to live a fit and healthy good life. We are inspiring parents, role models, mentors, leaders and individuals like you, to deliver the message to kids, that being active is not only good for their body and mind but also a lot of fun.

As a CATALYST we help change behaviours, increase activity and reduce the obesity rates in Canadian kids. Making an IMPACT is about tangible results and evidence that positive change has occurred.  GoodLife Kids Foundation will COLLABORATE with individuals and organizations committed to EXCELLENCE and PASSIONATE about inspiring active healthy kids. For more information, please visit www.goodlifekids.com

Spin 4 Kids

Spin 4 Kids is an incredible one-day fundraising event in support of the GLKF.  Fueled by the energy and enthusiasm of GoodLife Fitness Employees, Members and Partners, Spin 4 Kids 2013 aims to raise over $500,000 to support kids activity across Canada.

Book review: Stover’s flab fixation hard to stomach

- November 22nd, 2012

10135-KB_Stover_Cover_v4 _cover  copy

It’s been awhile since a packaged copy of Stover — a fitness-focused children’s book — wound up in my mail slot at the Edmonton Sun offices.

Upon a cursory glance through the brilliantly illustrated hardcover (circa the summer of 2011), I was excited.

Afterall, I’m not just a fitness columnist and blogger. I’m also a dad who’s ever mindful of the perpetually worsening childhood obesity epidemic.

I couldn’t wait to take the book home and share it with my then toddler daughter.

I wanted her to love this book.

I wanted it to be among her favourites, occupying prime real estate on her vast bookshelf.

A book about a cute little pig’s pursuit of health and fitness, I figured, was certain to help cultivate positive feelings about exercise and healthy eating.

And such a positive imprint on her psyche at such a young age, I thought, would help set her up for a lifetime of being strong, happy and healthy.

And then I read it to her.

It certainly lived up to my high expectations — at first.

Stover believes in eating a healthy breakfast before heading to the gym, where he’ll do everything from cardio, strength training and yoga to the occasional step class, stretching and swimming.

So far, so great.

But it’s what Stover does after showering and going home that threw me for a loop.

Stover stands in front of a full-length mirror and pinches the flab around his waist.

“Hooray! I pinch less. I feel so terrific. I’m such a success!” he says.

What the … ?!

There’s also a large foreboding image of a tape measure below the text.

Um … yeah, no.

Suddenly, this book lost all its charm.

Two lousy facing pages ruined the whole story for me.

You see, the “strong and healthy” message that I want to impart to my daughter doesn’t include fixating on belly fat in front of a mirror.

Sorry, but girls these days — and boys —have enough trouble dealing with body-image issues.

Stover’s preoccupation with trimming his waistline is the WRONG message to send to children. It’s downright unhealthy.

Yes, looking good is a byproduct of health and fitness. But the focus of fitness — especially for children — should always be about feeling good and having fun.

Accentuate the positive. Don’t fret about pinching an inch … or two inches … because that causes anxiety and stress, which raise the body’s cortisol levels. And, as research has shown, cortisol (also known as the “stress hormone”), leads to craving so-called comfort foods, overeating, fatigue and packing on weight.

Pretty self-defeating, eh?

One of the questions in the “fitness” questionnaire at the back of the Stover book also irks me. It reads: “How can you tell if you’re a good size and weight for a healthy person your age? If you aren’t — what can you do about it?”

Really?

Well, if you want to increase a kid’s likelihood of developing an eating disorder later in life, go ahead and urge Junior to gauge whether he’s “a good size and weight.” Whatever that is.

In my not so humble opinion, obsessing over kids’ weight and clothing size is only gonna shrink their self-esteem.

It’s up to parents to encourage their kids to move. And there’s no better way than leading by example. In fact, make it a family-bonding experience. There are lots of physical activities that can be done as a family: walking, hiking, cycling, kayaking, playing soccer, skiing, skating, swimming … OK, you get the picture.

But let me just say that methinks the family that exercises together stays together. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

It’s also up to the parents to lead by example when it comes to good nutrition. Kids, of course, don’t do the household grocery shopping. The parents do.

OK, I’ll get off my soapbox now. My point is that much can be done to encourage children to embrace a healthy lifestyle. But I firmly believe that showing them it’s OK to obsess over their body’s imperfections is not the way to go.

I really wanted to love Stover.

Maybe that’s why I put off reviewing it for so long.

Author Kathy Brodsky wrote an otherwise splendid book.

But I can’t, in good conscience, recommend Stover to other parents because my wife and I agree that this book has no place on our daughter’s bookshelf.

* * *

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Fitness and obesity trends to watch for in 2012

- January 1st, 2012

(Note: The following post is courtesy Carole Carson of www.fromfat2fit.com.)

Fitness and Obesity Trends to Watch for in 2012

carolecarsonIt’s Not a Small World After All

By 2020, four out of five of your friends, coworkers, family members and neighbors will be overweight or obese, and half of them will be diabetic or pre-diabetic, according to researchers at Northwestern University.

Less than 5% of Americans enjoy ideal cardiovascular health and today’s teens will die younger of heart disease than people of prior generations. According to Dr. Donald Lloyd-Jones, professor of medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, the current generation of teens — characterized by high blood sugar, surplus weight, poor eating habits, smoking and limited exercise — are the unhealthiest in our history. Dr. Jones bluntly predicts, “Their future is bleak.”

Public health officials joylessly report another first place: obesity has replaced smoking as the leading cause of preventable death, according to an article published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

However, “Today’s reality does not dictate the future,” says Carole Carson — dubbed “An Apostle for Fitness” by the Wall Street Journal and author of From Fat to Fit: Turn Yourself into a Weapon of Mass Reduction. Here are trends and predictions that can create a positive turning point in the battle of the bulge:

Exercise Trends

• Whole-life training, encompassing a comprehensive and holistic approach to changing one’s lifestyle to achieve optimum health, is expanding in fitness facilities, according to the American Council on Exercise (ACE). A multidisciplinary approach (involving nutritionists, psychologists, physical therapists and personal trainers) will continue to support health-conscious fitness club members.

• Seniors are rediscovering the athlete within. For example, in October 2011, Fauja Singh, a 100-year-old runner, completed a full-distance marathon in Canada. Kenneth Harris of the Consilience Group reports that since the early 1990s, participation for those over age 45 has grown in 21 sports and fitness activities (ranging from basketball to bowling, from mountain and rock climbing to ice hockey and from tackle football to in-line skating).

• At a time when concern about rising health-care costs is growing, exercise is becoming the go-to miracle treatment. For example, a study funded by the National Institutes of Health found that walking is more effective than stents or medication in the treatment of peripheral artery disease. EverydayHealth.com reports that regular exercise, which maintains the flow of blood to the brain, is thought to reduce the risk of dementia. Even patients with fibromyalgia, a difficult-to-treat disease, respond positively to exercise, according to WebMD. And MedicineNet.com says studies show that a brisk daily walk of at least 30 minutes lowers the risk for breast and colon cancers.

Food Trends

• According to a survey conducted by ACE, the majority of Americans (85%) still believe that following a restrictive or fad diet is the best way to lose weight. In response to this lingering misconception, ACE will continue its 25-year plan to reverse obesity by helping consumers understand there are no quick fixes.

• Protein, not sugar, is the best remedy for midafternoon slumps. Scientists at the University of Cambridge report that when compared to sugar, nutrients found in proteins improved alertness and energy expenditure.

• A more balanced dietary program is replacing the old approach in which a single food, beverage or ingredient is blamed for obesity. For example, 10 years ago, dieters avoided fat in any form. However, this big fat myth has been replaced with distinctions among fats (trans fat, saturated fat and unsaturated fat). Other formerly demonized foods, such as eggs and butter, have been redeemed as nutritionally valuable when eaten in moderation.

• Recommendations for changes to food product labels have emerged from a study sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Food and Drug Administration, and U.S. Department of Agriculture Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion. Although testing of various symbols and icons still needs to occur, front-of-package labeling will likely include calorie count plus information on sugars, sodium and saturated and trans fats.

Institutional Shifts

• Studies that demonstrate the relationship between poor nutrition and lowered academic performance are fueling the scratch cooking movement. Boosted by the popularity of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution television series, school lunch makeover programs are invigorating local communities by creating opportunities for sustainable local agriculture and, as a byproduct, promoting a healthier environment.

• School lunch makeovers are part of a larger effort to cultivate food literacy. For example, Lynn Walters’s online program, Cooking with Kids, grew out of the efforts of a local student nutrition advisory council to improve school food. Today, over 4,000 pre-kindergarten through sixth grade students in ten schools participate in the program.

• Hard-pressed consumers are cutting back on expensive organic food, the New York Times reports, but according to registered dietitian Jasia Steinmetz, they are patronizing farmers markets and pick-your-own food farms. The appeal of these sellers: consumers can frequently find better-tasting produce at lower prices than at chain markets.

• Community collaboration is expanding access to fitness facilities and programs in gyms, parks and recreation centers for residents, according to ACE. Business, government, service organizations, employers and medical professionals are joining forces to reduce obesity. Local organized walking groups, such as the Just Walk: A Walk with a Doc program in Ohio, have expanded beyond city and state boundaries. Communities seeking to organize weight-loss competitions can use free websites, for example, www.weightlosswars.com, to jump-start their group program.

Research and Technology

• To shrink waistlines, consumers are increasing their use of online programs and applications. For example, they can track calories, record exercise, get nutrition counseling and gain emotional support from peers online. They can even compete for cash prizes for weight loss.

• Technological advances now allow scientists to study the function of cells and organisms at the molecular level. The emerging field of metabolomics (the study of chemical processes  involving metabolites) will provide the key to understanding the complex relationship between nutrition and metabolism that in turn can lead to treatments, particularly for type 2 diabetes.

• Lack of willpower as the primary cause of obesity is losing credibility. “We’re slaves to our environment,” says David Levitsky, professor of nutritional sciences and psychology at Cornell, as he explains the rising level of obesity. Cheap food prices, ease of access to unhealthy food and seeing others eat are powerful stimulants that erode willpower. Even the size of the package from which food is taken influences the amount eaten. Dr. Levitsky’s insight makes managing one’s food environment critical to losing weight or to avoid gaining weight.

• Researchers continue to seek a safe, effective and sustainable way to help individuals lose weight. The Los Angeles Times reports that adipotide, a new drug initially developed for the treatment of cancer, triggered an 11% weight loss in a small sample of monkeys. Side effects included kidney complications.

Rising hunger and food insecurity in the midst of an epidemic of obesity seems counterintuitive, yet researchers at Brandeis University and the Center for American Progress found that about 48.8 million Americans face this situation daily. The number of families receiving food assistance increased by nearly a third last year.

Equally counterintuitive — given the high percentage of individuals who will suffer from the health complications resulting from obesity — is the prediction that Americans will continue to live longer. According to WebMD, life expectancy in 1915 was age 54. By 1967, the age increased to 70. Today’s average lifespan in the United States is 78, and experts predict that within 50 years, the age will rise to 100.

Without a doubt, our expanding knowledge of the underlying issues of fitness and obesity are being reshaped by research made possible by advances in technology. In responding to the fast-changing flow of information, one thing is certain: flexibility and balance in our lives will continue to be essential.

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Carole Carson lost 60 pounds at age 60.

Website: http://www.edmontonsun.com/author/cary-castagna

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Eight tricks for fewer treats this Halloween

- October 31st, 2011

Going trick-or-treatin’ tonight?

Here’s some food for thought from the PR firm representing MindStream Academy:

The Trick to Fewer Treats: Eight Ways for Cutting Back on the Candy This Halloween

HALLOWEENCANDYHilton Head, S.C. — A gaggle of witches, ghosts, vampires, and more are about to descend on neighborhoods around the country.

For kids, Halloween is a dream come true: the chance to dress up, stay out late, and — best of all — fill their bellies with candy. For parents, though, Halloween can seem like more of a trick than a treat.

In the age of childhood obesity, it’s already a huge struggle to get our kids to live healthy lives; the last thing we need is to compete with a bag bursting with candy bars.

Relax — you don’t have to resign yourself to weeks of sticky fingers and chocolaty smudges as your children gorge on the wrong kinds of food. According to Sarah Stone, your family can enjoy this holiday without consuming ghoulish amounts of calories.

“If you’re the parent of an overweight child or adolescent — or even if you’re just interested in reducing the amount of sugar your kids consume — it’s natural to worry about Halloween candy and the effect it will have on your child,” says Stone, director of operations at MindStream Academy, a co-ed health and wellness boarding school for teens who want to get fit, lose weight, build self-esteem, better manage stress, and take control over their health and wellness destinies.

So how can you keep your child from succumbing to the obvious health pitfalls during a candy-obsessed holiday like Halloween? Stone explains.

“One of the most important things to keep in mind is that keeping Halloween healthy can’t be about deprivation,” she says.

“If you keep your kids from candy altogether or are too tight-fisted when handing it out, your children’s desire to gobble it up will only intensify. It’s the classic forbidden fruit principle. Instead, make Halloween about enjoying treats in moderation. Try to achieve a balance between candy, healthy foods, and activity.”

Unless you put your kids in a cave until candy corn has disappeared from store shelves, you can’t prevent them from wanting to indulge. But you can take the focus off of junk food while still enjoying this holiday!

Here are eight tips:

1. Infuse Halloween with some action.

Leading an active lifestyle is at the heart of MindStream’s success formula. And while it’s a good idea to remain active year-round, place a special emphasis on exercise during the weeks leading up to Halloween in order to prepare for the extra calories that are on the horizon. Talk with your kids about how you can offset increased calorie consumption so that they make the connection.

And when the witching hour itself arrives, walk instead of ride while trick-or-treating. Point out to your kids that being active doesn’t have to be “work” — in fact, it can be freakishly fun. Your kids can race from house to house, play flashlight tag while trick-or-treating, etc. (Make sure to wear tennis shoes!) And as the navigator, you can plan out a route with widely spaced houses in order to get in more walking and less candy.

“After the trick-or-treating buzz has faded, make it a rule that no one gets to consume candy calories without first burning them,” suggests Stone.

“In order to eat a leftover treat, your kids will first have to play outside or participate in some other type of physical activity. This is a great time for some family bonding time, too — play a game of kickball together or get everyone rounded up for a lap or two around the neighborhood.”

2. Fuel up for trick-or-treating.

In the midst of all of the costume-donning, face-painting hustle and bustle, don’t forget to eat dinner — a healthy one. You might consider pre-planning a crock-pot roast or long-simmering soup that will be ready to eat when you need it so that you won’t have to divide your energy between the stove and your little ghost’s sheets. If your kids feel full while collecting candy, they’ll be less likely to overindulge.

“In fact, the MindStream FLOW program is designed to rekindle kids’ natural relationship with simple healthy eating,” Stone explains.

“We work to change the way kids think about what they eat, and that’s something you can also work toward at home. When your kids fuel up on a hearty meal that they enjoy, they won’t be as tempted by the things that aren’t good for them, like candy.

“And even if your kids have eaten beforehand, be on the lookout for mindless munching while they’re going house-to-house,” she continues.

“They will certainly overindulge this way. Don’t deprive them totally, though, or they’ll only want their newly acquired candy more. Allow them one or two small treats during or after trick-or-treating (after inspecting them for safety, of course!), and save the rest for later.”

3. Play up dress-up.

As Halloween approaches — and during the evening of October 31st itself — build your kids’ excitement around things other than candy; namely, their costumes! At least within your own house, you can make Halloween a holiday about dressing up, not about amassing a collection of candy.

Let your children play an active role in choosing what they want to be, and if possible, spend time together working on a homemade costume. Remind them how much fun it will be to pretend that they’re saving the world, just like their favorite action hero, for example.

“When you focus on the dress-up aspect of Halloween, that’s what your child will be most likely to look forward to — not candy,” points out Stone.

“I’m not saying that a cool costume will overshadow all thoughts of candy, because it won’t. But it might just take the edge off your child’s plans to gorge on treats. Even after Halloween is gone, you can still encourage your kids to don their costumes and play—another fun way to encourage physical activity.”

4. Welcome the Great Pumpkin.

We’ve all heard of the Great Pumpkin. According to Linus van Pelt from the beloved comic strip Peanuts, the Great Pumpkin rises from the “most sincere” pumpkin patch on Halloween night, then flies around the globe delivering toys to good boys and girls. You can easily make this holiday figure a part of your family’s tradition and cut down on candy consumption in the process.

First, allow your kids to pick a few things from their bags after they get home from trick-or-treating. (Set a limit; for example, a maximum of 10 treats.) Then put the rest of the candy out for the Great Pumpkin. While your children sleep, he will visit your home and trade the candy for a game or toy they’ve been wanting.

“For older kids or teens, consider a ‘Great Pumpkin Prize List’ instead of a visit by the mythical gourd himself,” suggests Stone.

“You can list several small items your child might want and assign a value to each. For example, turning in ten pieces of candy might earn a $5 iTunes gift card, and five pieces might be traded for an evening of TV privileges. Your children are still satisfied, and you can rest easy knowing that the candy is not going into their bellies.”

5. Don’t hold onto leftover candy.

Whether you decide to welcome the Great Pumpkin or not, it’s not a good idea to let your kids hang onto their candy weeks after trick-or-treating is over.

MindStream registered dietitian Peggy Smith says there are several strategies you can employ:

• Consider letting your children have a few pieces of candy each night until it’s gone, as opposed to limiting them to one piece a day. Kids get so much candy at Halloween that if they eat one piece a night, they won’t run out until they get Christmas candy, then Valentine’s Day candy, then Easter candy. When treats never run out, your children will begin to think that it’s okay to indulge every day, instead of only on holidays and special occasions. You might consider dividing the candy into Ziploc baggies, each containing an appropriate serving size. Allow your child one bag to eat per day.

• It might seem wasteful, but it’s better to throw leftover candy away than to let it sit around as a temptation, or to struggle with your children each night about how much they’re allowed to eat.

• Take the leftover candy that your kids don’t choose to work or to other adult activities if you don’t want to waste it by throwing it away.

• Share leftover candy with the less fortunate. Your kids might donate treats to a local soup kitchen, for example, or include it in a Christmas box for a disadvantaged child. (The winter holidays might seem far away, but many charitable organizations begin collecting in November!)

“Choose the option — or options — that seem best for your family,” says Stone.

“And as your child’s candy supply begins to dwindle, be sure to have healthy alternatives around, like fresh fruit. Your kids will be less inclined to remember their Halloween haul than you think.”

6. Buy treats in a timely manner.

Unless you want to be known as a Halloween Grinch, you probably won’t be able to get away with not buying any seasonal treats — so time your shopping trip well. In other words, avoid buying candy too early or too late.

“If you bring home bags of candy bars several weeks in advance, your kids (and let’s face it, you) will be tempted to eat it all before the costumes even come out,” points out Stone.

“And avoid buying the half-price candy that goes on sale just before and after Halloween, too. Lots of people fall into the ‘it’s a good bargain’ trap, but remember, discounts don’t make food any healthier. The bottom line with sale items is: If you don’t have it, you won’t eat it.”

7. Attend an alternative bash.

Many communities offer alternatives to traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating, such as parties, fall festivals, or “trunk-or-treats.” If there’s nothing in your area, consider throwing your own bash, perhaps with the help of your friends and neighbors. You can set up Halloween-themed games, offer pumpkin-carving, bob for apples, and hold costume contests, for example. And at the end of the night, you can provide all of the attendees with treat bags.

“At a party, your kids will be having fun all evening — but they won’t be collecting a new handful of candy every five minutes,” says Stone. “What’s not to love?”

8. Hand out healthy food.

If a member of your family will be staying home to hand out your own treats to roving ghouls and goblins, pick a healthy option — or one that’s non-edible. Good choices include granola bars, trail mix, raisins, pretzel snack bags, Halloween pencils, key chains, stickers, etc.

“MindStream believes that families are the horsepower behind successful lifestyle changes for teens, so take your kids with you when you stock up on treats to hand out,” suggests Stone.

“Talk to them about why certain options are healthier than others, and allow them some say on what you purchase. Plus, if your kids are on board with your family giving out less junky options, they’ll be more likely to choose those things for themselves in the future.

“Remember, strive to have a Halloween that’s about moderation, not deprivation,” Stone concludes. “Not only will you be navigating this particular holiday in a healthy fashion, you’ll be setting the stage for a more balanced life.”

# # #

About Sarah Stone: Sarah Stone is co-creator and director of operations for MindStream Academy. Along with founder Ray Travaglione, she has worked on the MindStream Academy project from its inception. She is an honors graduate of the University of Toledo whose dream was always to work with youth. After her previous work as director of admissions at a teenage recovery management facility, Sarah found a path that led her to her work at MindStream. Her dream has been realized as she takes great pride in helping teens work to heal and nurture what is broken and learn to be tolerant and understanding of themselves.

About MindStream Academy: MindStream Academy is a full-service boarding school on a pristine 43-acre horse farm in South Carolina for teens and tweens who want to get healthy, fit, lose weight, take control of their lives, build self-esteem, and pursue a personal passion.

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