trick or toy?

Are you a health-conscious do-gooder worried about giving out sugary treats this Halloween that may rot children’s teeth and weigh them down with unnecessary calories? Forget the boxes of raisins (a lame treat anyway), and hand out nonedible toys instead, all without the worry of your house being egged in retaliation. According to a Yale study published in the Journal of Nutrition, Education and Behavior, children are just as likely to choose a toy as candy on Halloween. The study was conducted at seven homes in five Connecticut towns last Halloween and involved 284 children between the ages of 3 and 14. The kids were offered a choice between fruit-flavored candies, such as lollipops or chews, or toys, such as stretch pumpkin men or glow-in-the-dark insects. It was found that half of the children chose toys when offered both. “This finding may reassure adults that children will not be disappointed by noncandy treats,” said the study’s principal investigator, research scientist Marlene Schwartz of Yale’s Department of Psychology.

This news brief appeared in the Random Data column of the Boston Globe’s Health/Science section on 10/28/2003.
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