Halloween Treats Don't Have to be Scary, Prof Says

Parents Urged to Counsel Children About Holiday Moderation and Nutrition

Oct. 28, 2011

Halloween means fun for kids — but also the tricky temptation of treats. 

“Many parents worry about their children’s eating habits,” said Dr. Shayla Holub, who studies the development of healthy eating behaviors as an assistant professor in School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.

“Children may find it especially hard to avoid the temptation of high-calorie foods at Halloween, when they’re constantly being offered candy and treats,” she said.

More than 30 percent of American children are estimated to be overweight, and the number is rising. Children who are overweight are at risk for many medical problems and may be targets of hurtful teasing.

Holub, who is seeking participants for her studies in the Center for Children and Families, recommends that parents discuss food choices with their children, so young people can help make their own decisions after trick-or-treating.

“Talk to your children about making healthy food choices and eating candy in moderation,” she said. “This will help them make good eating decisions during the upcoming holiday months.”

She also suggests emphasizing the other enjoyable parts of Halloween – such as dressing up, or socializing with friends – and taking some of the focus off snacks.


Media Contact: Emily Martinez, UT Dallas, (214) 905-3049, emily.martinez@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu
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Shayla Holub

Dr. Shayla Holub recommends that parents discuss food choices with their children, so young people can help make their own decisions after trick-or-treating.

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