10 of the Worst Breakfast Cereals for Children

Make an effort to demonstrate healthy eating habits | iStock.com

Many breakfast cereal choices are unhealthy for children | iStock.com

In the last three decades, childhood obesity rates have doubled for children, and quadrupled for adolescents according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This hasn’t escaped the notice of parents. In a recent study published in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, 93.5% were able to recognize that their child was overweight. Even though parents saw what was before their eyes, they didn’t mean they were taking steps to help their children lead healthier lives.

The study surveyed parents or guardians of children between the ages of 5 years old and 20 years old. A total of 202 parent-children groupings were used for the final data. Through questions, the study then gauged if the parents were working on improving a child’s diet, or promoting physical activity. Although only 41% fell into the “Action” stage when it came to altering the physical activity levels of their children, 62% of parents had started to reform the diets of their children. This means they are actively seeking healthier choices, removing fast food, and adding more fruits and vegetables to their child’s diet. Across the board consumption of sugary snacks did not significantly decline. Cereal was never asked about specifically, but this easy breakfast can often fall short on nutrition while scoring high for sugar.

In 2009, and again in 2012, the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at Yale University published Cereal FACTS, an evaluation of the nutritional profiles of popular breakfast cereals. Unlike other studies, like a recent Environmental Working Group report evaluating sugar in cereal, Cereal FACTS factors in the popularity and marketing of the cereals as well as its overall nutritional profile. Using the Nutrient Profiling Index to assign an NPI score, the rankings range from 0-100, worst to best. Based on this, it released a list of the worst ten cereals marketed to children and families. Keep reading to see if you’re consuming one of the biggest offenders.

10. Cookie Crisp

gingerbread cookies

Cookies | iStock.com/Liefvoort

It isn’t really too surprising that a cereal with “cookie” in the name isn’t earning high nutritional marks. For its part, General Mills has realized that it needs to cut back on sugar in cereal, and Cookie Crisp now has 9 grams of sugar per serving. It earned a 47 on the NPI scale, the highest of any of the cereals but still hardly healthy. Any score falling below 50 is not considered a nutritious choice.

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