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Don't Eat All That Halloween Candy; Give It To Overseas Troops

San Diego County doctors, dentists pay kids for their sweet treats, then donate to troops

Don't Eat All That Halloween Candy; Give It To Overseas Troops
San Diego County doctors and dentists fund the annual candy buyback program that pays trick-or-treaters to part with some of their sweets. The candy then goes to U.S. troops overseas.

Speak City Heights is a media collaborative aimed at amplifying the voices of residents in one of San Diego’s most diverse neighborhoods. (Read more)

Nine thousands pounds. That's the amount of Halloween candy San Diego County public health advocates and dentists collected from children willing to part with their sweets last year. The group is at it again, starting Monday.


Dentists and doctors participating in the annual candy buyback program are offering a dollar for each pound of candy trick-or-treaters turn in. The candy then goes to American troops overseas.

Sabrina Covington, a registered dietician, has organized the candy buyback program for six years and says it's all about public health. About 35 percent of school-age children in San Diego County were overweight in 2010, according to, which studies the health and well being of children in California.

"We're not opposing kids eating candy around this holiday, but what we're trying to prevent is the major excess of candy," Covington said. "And I think the last statistic that I read is the average trick-or-treater collects three to five pounds of candy."

She said when that candy is spread across thousands of troops, the serving sizes get a lot smaller — just a sweet little reminder of home.

Healthy Kids Choice, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative and the San Diego County Dental Society put on the candy buyback program. Participating dentists and doctors pay children trading in their candy out of their own marketing budgets.