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How much sugar is your child consuming for breakfast?

Subsequent to a thoroughly developed and wide-ranging
initiative to promote and produce
healthier dietary choices within the food industry in
2006, several top foods companies are still marketing
unhealthy cereal products for children, the Huffington Post reported.

Though healthy cereals with more whole grain and less
sugar are being produced, cereal companies are more
aggressively marketing their less healthy products,
according to a “troubling” new report conducted at Yale
Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

“Food companies spent 34 percent more in 2011 — a
total of $264 million — than in 2008 to promote
cereal targeted to children. And none of its healthiest
brands makes advertising to children a priority,” Kelly
Brownell, director of the Rudd Center, told the Los Angeles Times.

“Cereals from major companies such as Post, Kellogg Co.
and General Mills range from “very junky
to very good,” Brownell said. If the companies
“are going to be responsible citizens, they need to
market their healthier cereals to children, and they are
doing just the opposite.”

“One of the enduring debates surrounding the childhood obesity crisis is how much
responsibility falls on parents’ shoulders and how
much on the back of industry,” Janice D’Arcy at the Washinton Post reported. “Child
advocates often argue that what’s clear is that
well-funded marketing campaigns for the
unhealthiest food exacerbate the situation.”

One proposed solution is industry self-regulation. “The
industry can argue that it will police itself — that
it will act in the best interests of children, and that
government regulation will not be necessary,” the Atlantic reported.
“If the companies can develop ways of protecting children
from poor nutrition influences and not require government
involvement, everyone wins.”

General Mills, Kellogg and Post have participated in the
Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising
(CFBAI), which is “designed to shift the
mix of foods advertised to children under 12 to encourage
healthier dietary choices and healthy lifestyles.”

“The question is whether industry promises get fulfilled
— and whether they are meaningful promises to begin
with,” Kelly Brownell and Jennifer Harris at the Atlantic
reported. “There is no doubt that children need protection
from the masterful and ubiquitous marketing by companies
of products known to be unhealthy. Industry’s promises to
behave better have an empty ring when they continue the
marketing of their least healthy products to children.”

Websites such as can help parents be
informed about which cereals are nutritious for their

Rachel Lowry is a reporter
intern for the Deseret News.