June 22nd, 2012
Cereals aimed at kids haven’t improved much nutritionally, new report finds
By Deborah Kotz
Over the past three years, cereal manufacturers have improved the nutritional content of products marketed to children, but they have also increased advertising aimed at kids for sugary cereals that, despite improvements, still aren’t as nutritious as products aimed at adults. That’s the finding of a report being released Friday by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity in New Haven, which analyzed more than 100 brands of cereal marketed to children, families, and adults.
The report found that from 2008 to 2011, total media spending—including TV commercials, “adver-games” designed for kids, and Internet banner ads on children’s websites—increased by 34 percent. Nutritional quality improved, with cereals containing less sugar and sodium and more fiber per serving.
But even so, “these products are made up of a third sugar, and they’re still the worst in terms of fiber and sodium,” said the report’s lead researcher, Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center. “They’re not healthy products that kids should be eating.”