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RTE Breakfast Cereal Helps Kids Maintain Healthy Weight

BATTLE CREEK, Mich.—Children who eat cereal for breakfast are more likely to have lower body mass indexes (BMIs) and less chance of being overweight or obese compared to children who eat other breakfasts or skip the meal entirely, according to a new study published the journal Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition. The findings held true even if the cereal was presweetened.

The study, led by the WK Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition, evaluated ready-to-eat cereal (RTEC) breakfast type (presweetened and nonpresweetened) on physiological end points. The researchers analyzed data from 6, 729 individuals aged 2 to 17 years who participated in the 2003-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Study participants were separated into groups based on breakfast habits: presweetened RTEC (PS-RTEC); non-presweetened RTEC (NPS-RTEC); breakfast skippers (SKs); other breakfasts (OBs). Presweetened was defined as ≥9 g of added sugars per serving.

They found children who eat cereal breakfasts, including presweetened cereal, are much more likely to have healthier body weights than those who eat other breakfasts. Children who skip breakfast or choose non-cereal options are nearly twice as likely to be overweight or obese as their cereal-eating counterparts.

"The benefits of cereal breakfast extend beyond low BMI, too. Breakfast cereals make a positive contribution to children's nutrition," said Kevin B. Miller, Ph.D., a senior nutrition scientist at Kellogg Company's W.K. Kellogg Institute for Food and Nutrition and one of the researchers who conducted the study. "A serving of cereal and milk provides kids with protein and four important nutrients they often don't get enough of: fiber, calcium, vitamin D and potassium."

 

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