Hands off - Christmas chocolate survives for just 51 minutes on hospital wards

Sweet-toothed medical workers are quick to delve into boxes of chocolates

The life-expectancy of chocolates in a hospital is a short one - at least according to results of a new study which found that a chocolate placed near sweet-toothed medical workers would last just 51 minutes on average.

A UK based study looking at chocolate consumption among hospital staff found chocolate only lasts for just under an hour before being eaten, with health care assistants and nurses being the most likely to delve into the nearest box of Quality Streets or Roses.

To conduct the experiment, the authors covertly placed two 350 g boxes of Quality Street and Roses chocolates on each ward (eight boxes containing a total of 258 individual chocolates). These boxes were kept under constant surveillance, with the time recorded when each chocolate was eaten.

The study was conducted across four wards in three hospitals: Bedford Hospital in Bedford, The Great Western Hospital in Swindon and the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in Stoke. 

Lead author Parag R Gajendragadkar, a cardiology specialist registrar at Bedford Hospital said eating chocolate was a common experience in hospital settings, particularly as boxes are often given as gifts from patients and their families.

Dr Gajendragadkar and his team observed each ward for four to six hours, measuring the median survival time of a chocolate before it was eaten. Nearly 75 per cent of the chocolates (191) were observed being eaten, and the mean time taken to open a box of chocolates from when it first appeared on the ward was just 12 minutes.

Speaking to The Independent, he said: "One of the interesting findings from this study was the way the chocolates were eaten. As soon as boxes were opened the rate of consumption was really high at the start, but gradually slowed down later on when unpopular chocolates are left at the end. We actually managed to work out a mathematical formulae for this."

The team also noted Roses were preferred over Quality Streets in a ward setting, apart from the University Hospital of North Staffordshire, the only hospital observed in the north of England.

Staff at each hospital have now been informed about the experiment and are waiting to find out if their ward was observed in the study.

The authors concluded: “Chocolate survival in a hospital ward was relatively short, and was modelled well by an exponential decay model.

“Overall, ward chocolate consumers preferred Roses chocolates compared with Quality Street chocolates. Taken as a group, healthcare assistants and nurses were the largest consumers of chocolate.”

The study has been published in the British Medical Journal's Christmas edition.

Voices
On the last day of campaigning before the polling booths open, the SNP leader has written to voters in a final attempt to convince them to vote for independence
voicesIs a huge gamble on oil keeping the First Minister up at night?
Life and Style
techApple has just launched its latest mobile operating software – so what should you do first?
Arts and Entertainment
tv

Arts and Entertainment
Rosalind Buckland, the inspiration for Cider with Rosie died this week
booksBut what is it like to be the person who inspires a classic work of art?
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
The former Doctor Who actor is to play a vicar is search of a wife
film

Matt Smith is set to join cast of Jane Austen classic - with a twist

News
A male driver reverses his Vauxhall Astra from a tow truck
newsThe 'extremely dangerous' attempt to avoid being impounded has been heavily criticised
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona
filmWhat makes the little man tick?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: An undercooked end (spoiler alert)
News
i100
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell dismissed the controversy surrounding
musicThe singer said 'the last thing I want to do is degrade'
Sport
Cesc Fabregas celebrates his first Chelsea goal
footballChelsea vs Schalke match report
Arts and Entertainment
Toby Jones (left) and Mackenzie Crook in BBC4’s new comedy The Detectorists
tvMackenzie Crook's 'Detectorists' makes hobby look 'dysfunctional'
Life and Style
fashion

Olympic diver has made his modelling debut for Adidas

News
i100
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Senior IT Support Engineer - Education Sector - Shepherd's Bush

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior IT Support Engineer - Educati...

KS2 Teacher required

£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Cambridge: KS2 teacher required ...

LSA

£15000 - £16000 per annum: Randstad Education Group: To work as part of the Le...

KS1 Float Teacher needed in the Vale

£100 - £110 per day + Travel scheme plus free professional trainnig: Randstad ...

Day In a Page

Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

The Imitation Game, film review
England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week