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Science and Nutrition

Obesity is a complex health issue with a wide variety of contributing factors, including excess calorie consumption, sedentary lifestyles, lack of exercise and time pressures on both families and individuals.


grocery_bagIt is important to remember that candy and chocolate are treats, snacks or desserts. The key to maintaining a balanced diet and appropriate weight with confections, as with all foods, is to consume them in moderation, as part of an active lifestyle.

With confectionery contributing less than two percent of the average child's and adult's daily calories, we think most consumers already understand that confectionery can add a great deal of enjoyment without being a major source of calories.

However, the confectionery industry does work to provide consumers with the information they need to understand the role of confectionery in the diet, while offering a variety of options to choose the confectionery products best suited to individual lifestyles and needs. Examples include small, “snack-size,” or “bite-size” confections as well as low-fat, non-fat and sugar-free products.

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We also understand that it is important for consumers to have all the information they need to make decisions about the foods eat. That's why nutrition labeling appears on all packaged candy products.

Finally, as members of the food industry, we have an important role to play in helping people recognize the contribution of diet and activity to consumers’ health and well-being. One important initiative involves working with the American Academy of Family Physicians’ Foundation on a brochure to help parents talk with children about healthy eating, A Parent’s Guide to Talking to Your Children about Diet and Nutrition. Organizations such as the Boys and Girls Clubs, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and the National Association of Sport and Physical Education (NASPE) use the brochure as a resource for parents, teachers and community healthy and wellness programs.

Want more specific help on how candy can fit into your lifestyle? Take a look at Treat Smarts: A Guide to Nutrition and Activity, which provides easy-to-use guidance for parents on nutritional information for popular kinds of candy, activities to keep the family healthy and interactive ways to make mealtime fun.

Here are some other resources you may find helpful:

From the USDA:

  • USDA's MyPyramid.gov helps determine how much of what variety of foods you or your children need

From the Food Information Council:

Other Resources:


Top Resources

Use these resources to learn more about including candy in a healthy lifestyle.

Fun Facts

Fun Facts about Winter Holidays

  • Most kids ages 6-11 years old say they eat a candy cane by sucking on it (54 percent) But that's not the only way to enjoy this favorite holiday treat
    • Biting/crunching: 24 percent
    • Licking: 19 percent
    • Don't know: 2 percent
    • Other: 1 percent
  • When eating candy canes, boys were almost twice as likely to crunch their candy canes than girls (31 percent v. 17 percent).
  • Of 1,000 adults surveyed, 89 percent said candy plays a role in their winter holiday celebrations.
    • Placing candy in a bowl: 72 percent
    • Giving/receiving a box of chocolates: 70 percent
    • Giving/receiving a holiday stocking filled with goodies: 63 percent
    • Creating a gingerbread house: 19 percent
  • More than 1.8 billion candy canes will be made for the winter holiday season, in traditional peppermint flavor as well as super-sour, fruit and tropical fruit flavors. A typical candy cane contains only 55 calories and no fat/cholesterol.
  • More than 150 million chocolate Santas will be made for the winter holiday season.
  • The winter holidays represent the biggest boxed chocolate selling season.
  • The winter holidays are the third largest "candy holiday" sales season, behind Halloween and Easter. Valentine's Day is fourth.
  • Retail sales overall for the winter holiday season (November-December) account for 20-40 percent of annual retail sales.
  • More than 33 million real Christmas trees will be sold for the season and more than 67 million turkeys will be consumed on Thanksgiving and Christmas.

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