The effects of chocolates given by patients on the
well-being of nurses and their support staff

Cheung ST.
Department of Medicine,
University Birmingham Hospital NHS Trust, UK.
Nutr Health. 2003;17(1):65-9


Chocolate has a number of extremely appealing sensory qualities, and often are given by patients to those working in hospital wards as a token of their gratitude. This study examines whether this has any harmful effects. Eighty nine qualified nurses, 21 ward assistants, and 18 nursing students completed a structured questionnaire, showing that on average 5.4 chocolates were eaten each day. About 2/3 of the recipients ate 1-5 chocolates a day, while a few (3%) ate more than 20 per day. The most common reason given for eating them was simply because they were there. However, a quarter felt that a healthier alternative would be an adequate alternative gift. Around a third of those surveyed felt that the chocolates had a detrimental effect on their well-being. It is unlikely that chocolates will ever be scarce on hospital wards because there is a never-ending supply from grateful patients. Consequently, it will be difficult to restructure the chocolate-eating habits of those working on hospital wards.

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