So…you think you’ll sneak a chocolate, eh?



What happens to the box of chocolates given to hospital staff by grateful patients? Yes, yes, they are scoffed, but did you ever wonder who’s the greediest? And why the Quality Street green triangle is always left over?

Most of the mysteries have been solved by an elite group of chocolate spies planted in three hospitals. Well, I say spies, they were, in fact, researchers, very clever people with lots of letters after their names – and a self-confessed love of  chocolate.

Their mission was to study survival rates. The survival rates of chocolates on wards, that is, and see what conclusions they could draw. They cunningly placed boxes of Quality Street and Roses in a prominent location accessed by staff at a set time, then hid to watch just who helped themselves.

They didn’t have to wait long, boxes were opened within minutes and noshed within tens of minutes. Personally, I’m surprised it took so long! The biggest eaters were healthcare assistants and nurses, followed by doctors, hardly a surprise as there are more assistants than there are doctors.

Of course, being researchers, they have graphs, tables and lots of statistics to support their findings, plus fascinating observations, such as a grabfest as soon as the box is opened tailing off as everyone leaves the green triangles. Their starting point was a serious one, that eating too much chocolate is a bad thing, and wondered whether there were types of workers who were more tempted by the goodies. They found Roses were preferred to Quality Street, well I could have told them that, who eats the green triangles and the tooth-breaking toffee pennies? They also found they were eaten quickly, but as this was a new approach to research, that more research was needed.  If they need any volunteers to help with chocolate-related duties, I’m here – just leave out the green triangles.

They had no conclusions about the green triangles, I made that up, which is why they are proper researchers and I’m just a blogger!

Give their research a read, it’s fascinating – especially the competing interests section at the end when each confesses his or her own chocolate weakness.

The survival time of chocolates on hospital wards: covert observational study was printed in the BMJ, Christmas 2013. Authors were: Parag R Gajendragadkar, cardiology specialist registrarDaniel J Moualed, ENT surgery specialist registrar, Phillip L R Nicolson, haematology specialist registrar,Felicia D Adjei, core medical trainee, Holly E Cakebread, foundation year doctor, Rudolf M Duehmke, cardiology specialist registrar, Claire A Martin, cardiology specialist registrar


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