Cereals marketed to kids have 85% more sugar, 65% less fiber and 60% more sodium than those aimed at adults. This comes from a report by Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity.
The content of popular cereals were analyzed using a nutrient profiling system and data was reviewed on how cereals are marketed to kids. Findings released this past weekend revealed that:
•The least nutritious cereals are often the most heavily marketed to children, such as Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Cap’n Crunch.
•Most major cereal companies have products that are nutritionally good for consumption, but not many of those are advertised to children.
•Companies have reduced sugar content of kids’ cereals, on average from 3½ teaspoons to 3 teaspoons of sugar a serving.
•Average preschoolers see about 642 TV cereal ads a year; most for cereals with the worst nutrition ratings. Cereal companies spend over $156 million a year marketing to children.
•Many cereal companies have websites directed towards children, including the millsberry.com site from General Mills.
•Some of the cereals with the poorest nutrition ratings have health claims on the boxes.
So ... what to do? Buy cereals when your child is not with you. Cereals that are not loaded with sugar include corn flakes, rice krispies and cheerios and these are the cereals you should be offering to your children. Having fruit, such as bananas, raisins or berries available will encourage your child to add these to his cereal for more flavor ... this is a good thing. And, believe it or not, explaining to your children that foods laden with sugar are bad for them does really get through. Remember, the messages you deliver today will stay with your child as he grows.