Study: Cereals' improved health not reflected in advertising

Spending for unhealthy cereals marketing to children increased by more than 30%

July 10—While U.S. food companies are making healthier breakfast cereals for children, they're also aiming more ads for their unhealthiest products at kids, according to a report issued on Friday.

The "Cereal Facts" study from Yale University's Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity offers an outside assessment of the industry's actions and comes amid rising alarm over diet-related health costs in the United States, where nearly a third of children are overweight or obese.

Kelly Brownell, director of the Rudd Center, lauded cereal makers for changing their recipes to boost fiber and whole grain content while reducing sugar and sodium, but said there was ample room for further improvement.

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When I joined the staff at FoodService Director in the spring of 2015, I couldn’t believe how much there was to learn about the intricacies of the industry. My past experience, from kindergarten to my college days to on-the-job meals, would lead me to believe that noncommercial dining was a kind of automated process—an amenity that’s expected, and one you only become aware of if something goes wrong.

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