Parents Want Fun, Healthy Alternatives to Sugary Treats

New Study Finds Average Child Receives 90 Pieces of Candy
[title]

The American Dental Association (ADA) and PopCap Games today announced the results of a new survey targeting US parents of trick-or-treating age kids (five to 13 years old), looking at views and perceptions of Halloween. Approximately 94 percent of all American children participate in trick-or-treating, but the survey results signify parents of kids that age want more and better options where treats are concerned. Among the top findings, the average child receives just over 90 pieces of candy on Halloween and 70 percent of parents agree it would be good if their children received less candy and more non-candy treats. This year, that’s a real possibility, through the PopCap and ADA “Stop Zombie Mouth” campaign, which includes the giveaway of millions of coupons redeemable for free copies of the family-friendly hit PopCap game Plants vs. Zombies.

Following are key findings from the survey, conducted by Information Solutions Group and involving more than 1,000 parents throughout America; full survey results can be found here: ADA/PopCap Halloween Consumer Parent Study “The fact that the majority of parents believe their children receive and consume too much candy around Halloween is encouraging,” said Dr. Jonathan Shenkin, ADA spokesperson on pediatric dentistry. “With the Stop Zombie Mouth campaign we’re providing a fun alternative to sugary treats while further raising awareness of the importance of oral health among parents and children at this critical time of the year. Tooth decay can be prevented through basic steps such as brushing twice a day for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste, yet only 44 percent of children brush twice daily.”

Halloween Family Activities

For parents, the most enjoyable aspects of Halloween as a parent are “Trick-or-treating with my child(ren)” (74 percent of all respondents); “Having fun with family” (51 percent) and “Decorating the house” (47 percent). “Dressing up in costume” and “Pumpkin carving” rounded out the top five responses, with 43 percent and 41 percent, respectively.

Parents: Less Sugar, More Fun

70 percent of responding parents agreed with the statement “If my child received less candy and more of other kinds of treats, that would be good”; 59 percent agree that “my children eat too much candy around Halloween.” Among those parents whose children have visited a dentist three or more times to have a cavity filled, 71 percent said their children eat too much candy around Halloween.

Too Much Candy

According to all parents surveyed, candy represents 86.5 percent of all treats their children receive while trick-or-treating; 77 percent of parents reported that their children receive more than 50 pieces of candy while trick-or-treating on Halloween. 30 percent receive more than 100 pieces of candy, and the average for across all children is 90.9 pieces of candy received.

Tooth-Friendly Alternatives for Treats

Three quarters (75 percent) of parents surveyed would prefer their child receive a free video game instead of a piece of candy on Halloween. (Among parents whose children have visited a dentist three or more times to have a cavity filled, fully 86 percent indicated they’d prefer their children receive a free video game.)

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 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 give away to their patients.