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27 Oct, 2012

U.S. Dental Association Survey: Kids Get “Too Much Candy” At Halloween


October 24, 2012 SEATTLE & CHICAGO–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The American Dental Association (ADA) and PopCap Games today announced the results of a new survey targeting trick-or-treating children (ages 5 to 13) in the U.S., looking at kids’ views and perceptions of Halloween. Approximately 94% of all American children participate in trick-or-treating, and 65% of them consider Halloween the best holiday of the year.

At the same time, the survey found that a significant majority of kids are primed for changes to the holiday. Among the top findings, two-thirds of kids surveyed agree that they eat too much candy around Halloween, 89% say they would still like the holiday if it was less about candy and more about other types of fun, and fully 93% would prefer to receive a video game instead of candy while trick-or-treating.

“Children themselves are asking us as adults to help curb sugary snacks,” said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, ADA spokesperson on pediatric dentistry. “The Stop Zombie Mouth campaign is an excellent way to bring together an alternative treat for Halloween with an opportunity to increase awareness among parents and children about the benefits that practicing good oral hygiene can have on overall health. Learning and practicing good oral hygiene habits now will pay dividends later in life.”

Following are highlights from the survey, conducted by Information Solutions Group and involving more than 750 children ages 5 to 13 throughout America; full survey results can be found here: ADA/PopCap Halloween Consumer Children’s Study.

Kids’ Favorite Holiday

For two thirds (65%) of U.S. children, Halloween is considered the best holiday of the year. Among all children surveyed, the three most-liked Halloween activities are “Trick-or-treating” (75%), “Dressing up in a costume” (71%), and “Getting lots of candy” (66%).

Health-Conscious Kids

More than three fourths (78%) of kids surveyed agree with the statement “too much candy is bad for me,” and two thirds (67%) say they eat too much candy around Halloween. Girls who were surveyed were somewhat more likely to respond in the affirmative than boys: 82% of girls agreed with the statement “too much candy is bad for me,” compared to 74% of boys.

Kids: Halloween Could Be Less Candy-Centric

89% of responding children indicated that they would still like Halloween if it was less about candy and more about other types of fun. Further, 93% of all kids surveyed stated they would rather receive a free video game than a piece of candy while trick-or-treating. 42% of children surveyed said they worry about getting cavities from eating too much candy around Halloween.

Announced earlier this month, the “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign will continue through Halloween, and provides parents, dentists and other adults with trading cards and coupons redeemable for entirely free copies of PopCap’s family friendly hit video game, Plants vs. Zombies, which can be given away to trick-or-treaters as a tooth-friendly alternative to candy. Already, thousands of ADA member dentists nationwide have ordered Stop Zombie Mouth kits to outfit their offices with the campaign theme and provide free collectible Plants vs. Zombies trading cards and game coupons to their patients.

Survey Methodology

This research was conducted by Information Solutions Group (ISG; www.infosolutionsgroup.com) exclusively for PopCap Games and the American Dental Association (ADA). The results are based on 755 online surveys completed by members of the world’s largest online ePanel (Toluna) in the United States between August 16 and August 20, 2012. To qualify for participation in the survey, individuals had to live in the U.S., have a child between 5 and 13 years old and allow their children to go trick-or-treating on Halloween.

Among U.S. households, 948 were identified as parents of children 5 to 13 years old, with 886 (94%) allowing their children to trick-or treat on Halloween. Among the 886 parents, 755 indicated that a child 5 to 13 years old was available to answer several questions about their celebration of Halloween. In theory, in 19 cases out of 20, the results will differ by no more than 3.1 percentage points from what would have been obtained by seeking out and polling all U.S. households with children 5 to 13 years old. Smaller subgroups reflect larger margins of sampling error. Other sources of error, such as variations in the order of questions or the wording within the questionnaire, may also contribute to different results.