The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is encouraging Hoosiers to celebrate a healthy Halloween by limiting the amount of sweets they consume and increasing their physical activity this season. According to the 2016 National Survey of Children’s Health, 18.5 percent of Hoosier children between the ages of 10 and 17 were considered obese and 15.4 percent were identified as being overweight. Additionally, reports from the 2015 Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that 6.5 percent of Indiana children did not consume fruits or 100 percent fruit juices and 7.3 percent did not eat vegetables.
“It’s always fun to celebrate the traditions of the season, but it’s also important to maintain healthy habits,” said ISDH Division of Nutrition and Physical Activity Director Lindsey Bouza. “As a community, Indiana parents should consider options other than sweets to help limit the amount of sugar their children consume.”
While many people make Halloween a time to indulge in sugary snacks, providing alternatives like whole fruit or fruit snacks, temporary tattoos and glow-in-the-dark toys can help reduce the amount of candy consumed during the holiday. Behaviors that influence excess weight gain for children include consuming high-calorie, low-nutrient foods and beverages and not getting enough physical activity, among others. Consuming a healthy diet and being physically active can help children maintain a healthy weight throughout childhood. Bouza also suggests that parents take the focus off of candy and concentrate on fall activities like taking a trip to the pumpkin patch, picking apples at the orchard or going for walk in the park.
“Not only can you increase your activity levels, you can also create some new, healthy fall traditions for your family,” she said. For more information about childhood obesity, go to Visit ISDH at for important health and safety information, or on Twitter at @StateHealthIN and on Facebook at