In North America, Halloween has morphed into a holiday to sell costumes and treats. The religious traditions have been lost or confused.
Halloween stems from a 2,000-year-old ritual to mark the end of summer. Throughout the centuries, cultures and churches have transformed it into an event to remember those who have died, as well as, prepare for the winter.
In fact, dressing up as a ghost or a scary monster started as poking fun at the devil to prove that he did not invoke fear. Humor and ridicule confronted Satan’s power of death.
As in the past, All Hallows Eve disguises innocent souls to protect them from the reality that summer is over, the harvest is in, and the cold harsh winter is just days away. Today, neighborhoods swarm with trick or treaters begging for treats, and they are rewarded with candy.
The day after Halloween is the first day of November. November is recognized as National Diabetes Month.
Over 100 million U.S. adults are now living with diabetes or prediabetes. Thirty million Americans deal with diabetes, and 80 million have prediabetes, a condition that if not treated, often leads to Type 2 diabetes within five years. One in three people are affected by diabetes.
There is a strange connection between Halloween and prediabetes. Both can be very scary. Participation is vital to each.
On the night before Nov. 1, costumes, treats, and carved pumpkins ward off the scary presence of the devil and of all things evil. On the event of a slightly elevated blood glucose reading known as prediabetes, precautions to ward off the scary presence of the deadly disease diabetes must be initiated.
It’s hard to avoid the television ads and store displays that urge dressing up and filling beggar bags with candy or snacks. Toothbrushes and apples are frowned upon. Evil spirits aren’t afraid of healthy things; they can be bought off with sugary or salty delights.
Less known is the evil spirit of prediabetes. Many of the 80 million people are dressed up in extra-large clothes or bigger. Their breakfast bowls, lunch sacks, and dinner tables are loaded with sugary and salty foods, washed down with rivers of sweet tea and pop.
Unlike Halloween costumes and treats, large outfits and enormous intakes do not scare diabetes away. Nearly 25 percent of the U.S. population invite the malevolent cloud of the unwanted disease called diabetes into their lives. This diagnosis can be avoided with healthy things like a routine meal plan, more physical activity, lower scary stress and medication.
By losing 5 to 7 percent of starting weight and attaining 150 minutes of weekly physical activity, participants can reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by 58 percent, while those over 60 can reduce their risk by 71 percent.
The eating season has begun. Trick or treaters are gobbling their rewards. Thanksgiving is around the corner. Christmas traditions always include plenty of food and stress. Carve more vegetables and trek the neighborhood to ward off evil high blood sugars.
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a Diabetes Self-Management Training Program at Dunlap Community Hospital, Orrville, Ohio. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.