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“Healthy Halloween” Event Promotes Healthier Eating Choices for Children

By Tyler McDowell
for Hottytoddy.com

Operation Fit Nation is returning a night of “Healthy Halloween” fun to engage the community on Oct. 31 and help promote a healthier generation. 

The nonprofit organization is hosting its annual Halloween event at the OPC Activity Center from 5:30-7:30 p.m. This free event is sponsored by several local businesses including Rebel Body Fitness and Smoothie King. It hosts between 400 and 500 attendees each year, providing healthy treats and fun, physical activities to promote a healthier lifestyle for young children and families.

A list of fun activities happening at this year’s “Healthy Halloween” event hosted by Operation Fit Nation. Photo via Facebook.

This year’s event will feature a climb and slide bounce house, a haunted obstacle course room, healthy food tastings, prize giveaways and balloon art. In addition to the fun, attendees will have the chance to win two scooters and two bicycles during the night. 

Lawrence Muruako is the founder of Operation Fit Nation and is a strong advocate for southern families to choose healthier lifestyles and decrease the rates of youth struggling with health-related issues. According to a study performed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, Mississippi has an increased rate of childhood obesity with a prevalence exceeding 20%.

“We want great health to be a standard of our community,” Muruako said. “We want to give kids options, something different and better for their health.”

Sponsor and Smoothie King manager Keith Evans said he also wants to promote healthier options and agrees that information should be made more readily available to families of the community.

“Childhood obesity is very prominent,” Evans said.

Evans suggested that families find healthier alternatives for common treats, like trading ice cream for flavorful, fruit-based smoothies.

“They are sweet but not loaded with sugars like most treats and snacks,” Evans said.

Although “Healthy Halloween” and other events hosted by Operation Fit Nation have been successful by promoting better choices, University of Mississippi student Thomas Morgan thinks there needs to be more of these events in the community to put changes in effect. 

“I think our problem is we have a large portion of our state that is very low income. You will choose the cheapest options when facing such poverty,” Morgan said.

One in five Mississippians live in poverty, which may have an impact on their ability to afford healthier foods. Mississippi has also been ranked as one of the unhealthiest and most obese states, according to Consumer Protect, a consumer protection advocacy group. The state comes in at No. 2, falling right behind West Virginia.

Another way area children can make healthy choices for Halloween is by exchanging candy for money at Lee Family & Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Lee will pay children $1 per pound (up to five pounds) in exchange for unopened Halloween candy on Monday, Nov. 4 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. The candy will be shipped to U.S. troops through Operation Gratitude. For more information about the candy buy-back, call 662-513-0055 for more information. 

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