Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween not affected by obesity epidemic; ADA study says candy not kids' favorite part of event

Don't expect the obesity epidemic to put a damper on distribution of Halloween candy. Even though more than one-third of American children are classified as overweight or obese, 75 percent of Americans plan to hand out candy tonight, says a survey by the National Confectioners Association, Ann Tracy Mueller reports for Agri-Pulse, a Washington newsletter. The survey says that 70 percent of Americans plan to take their children trick-or-treating and 23 percent of adults admit they will sample their children's candy haul. (Childhood Obesity News photo)

Seniors are the most likely to hand out candy, with 84 percent of respondents over 60 saying they plan to hand out candy, Mueller writes. In the Midwest, 79 percent of respondents said they plan to give out candy, compared to 76 percent in the South, 74 percent in the West and 71 percent in the Northeast.

And don't expect the candy business to suffer a financial crisis anytime soon, Mueller writes. About $2.5 billion in confectionery sales are expected during the holiday season, while confectionery manufacturers in more than 40 states employ more than 70,000 workers in more than 1,000 facilities.

But candy is not the main draw of Halloween, says a study by the American Dental Association. The study, which in August asked 755 children between the ages of 5 to 13 what their three favorite parts of Halloween are, says 75 percent of respondents said trick-or-treating, 71 percent said dressing up and 66 percent said getting candy. The older children getting less candy was a factor, with 70 percent of children 5 to 7 saying candy was one of their favorite parts, 69 percent of children 8 to 10 and 62 percent of those 11 to 13.

Children are also aware that candy is not good for them, the study says. When asked if too much candy is bad for them, 78 percent said they strongly agree or somewhat agree, while 67 percent strongly or somewhat agree that they eat too much Halloween candy. Although 65 percent said they strongly or somewhat agree that Halloween is the best holiday, 89 percent said they would still like Halloween if it was less about candy and more about other types of fun. Children are also open to receiving other treats, with 93 percent saying they would rather receive a video game than candy. (ADA graphic)

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