Newswise — MAYWOOD, Ill. – Though the walking from door to door on Halloween night is a great way to get kids to exercise, the bags full of candy at the end of their route are a scary reminder of the childhood obesity epidemic. For instance, you’d have to bike for about 20 minutes just to burn off the calories from five little Tootsie Rolls. But, Halloween actually can be a great opportunity to teach kids about healthy choices according to Garry Sigman, MD, director of the pediatric weight management program at Loyola University Health System and professor in the Department of Pediatrics at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine.

“Halloween is great fun for kids with all the spooky decorations, costumes and tasty treats. It also can be seen as a challenge for health-conscious parents,” said Sigman. “This doesn’t have to be the case. With a little bit of planning it can be a great time to model and help kids understand the importance of moderation and balance, two keys to healthy behavior.

Sigman gives some tips for teaching kids about balance.• Emphasize the non-food related aspects of the holiday, such as parties, decorations, spooky activities, costume contests and games.• Serve a healthy meal or snack before trick-or-treating, when sorting through the candy and every time you break out leftover candy.• Make it a “moving” holiday to help balance the eating. Have a costume parade, a monster dance party, play games like costume tag or bobbing for apples. This will also leave less time for collecting candy.

He also gives come tips for teaching kids about moderation.• Limit the size of the trick-or-treat bag for going door-to-door. Stay away from the pillow case and go for a small gift bag.• Choose to hand out fun-size candies instead of full-size bars to help them understand portion control.• Only keep a small amount of the candy out and put the rest in the freezer. This shows how you can still enjoy a special treat without going overboard. You are in control of the candy, the candy isn’t in control of you.• Show kids that sometimes enough is enough by getting rid of extra candy.

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Boiler for Eve PolsleyFor media inquires, please contact Evie Polsley at [email protected] or call (708) 216-5313 or (708) 417-5100. Follow Loyola on: Facebook:!/LoyolaHealthTwitter:!/LoyolaHealthYouTube: Loyola University Health System (LUHS) is a member of Trinity Health. Based in the western suburbs of Chicago, LUHS is a quaternary care system with a 61-acre main medical center campus, the 36-acre Gottlieb Memorial Hospital campus and more than 30 primary and specialty care facilities in Cook, Will and DuPage counties. The medical center campus is conveniently located in Maywood, 13 miles west of the Chicago Loop and 8 miles east of Oak Brook, Ill. The heart of the medical center campus, Loyola University Hospital, is a 569-licensed-bed facility. It houses a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Burn Center and the Ronald McDonald® Children’s Hospital of Loyola University Medical Center. Also on campus are the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center, Loyola Outpatient Center, Center for Heart & Vascular Medicine and Loyola Oral Health Center as well as the LUC Stritch School of Medicine, the LUC Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing and the Loyola Center for Fitness. Loyola's Gottlieb campus in Melrose Park includes the 264-licensed-bed community hospital, the Professional Office Building housing 150 private practice clinics, the Adult Day Care, the Gottlieb Center for Fitness, Loyola Center for Metabolic Surgery and Bariatric Care and the Loyola Cancer Care & Research at the Marjorie G. Weinberg Cancer Center at Melrose Park.