May 15 U.S. children are consuming more than 10
pounds (4.5 kgs) of sugar annually if they eat a typical morning
bowl of cereal each day, contributing to obesity and other
health problems, and cereal makers and regulators are doing
little to address the issue, according to a study released on
The Environmental Working Group, a Washington, D.C.-based
health information non-profit, said its report covers more than
1,500 cereals, including 181 marketed to children.
As part of the report, the group re-examined 84 cereals it
studied in a similar report in 2011, and found that the sugar
content of those cereals remained on average at 29 percent. Some
cereals had increased sugar content now compared to 2011, and
none of the 181 cereals marketed to children was free of added
sugars, the group found. On average, children's cereals have
more than 40 percent more sugars than adult cereals, EWG said.
"Obviously we know cereals have a lot of sugar in them,"
said Dawn Undurraga, an EWG consultant and a co-author of the
report. "But there is a lot that manufacturers can be doing and
FDA can be doing, to protect kids."
The group said one of the worst offenders is Kellogg Co.'s
Honey Smacks, with 56 percent sugar by weight.
A child eating an average serving of a typical children's
cereal eats more than 10 pounds of sugar a year from that source
alone, and the average daily intake of added sugar for children
is two to three times the recommended amount, the EWG said.
A Kellogg official said the company has cut sugar in its
top-selling kids' cereals by 20 percent to 30 percent over time.
The company said the EWG report ignores the benefits provided by
a cereal breakfast, including pre-sweetened cereals.
"When you consider what constitutes a good breakfast, cereal
and fat free milk pack a powerful nutritional punch, lower in
fat and calories than many other breakfast choices, and
including many nutrients that people might otherwise miss," said
company spokeswoman Kris Charles.
The report is the latest in a push by consumer and health
groups to convince food companies and regulators to cut
unhealthy ingredients from packaged food products.
In March, the Food and Drug Administration proposed that
added sugar content be listed in nutrition facts panels on
packaged foods. But the serving sizes need to be more accurately
labeled, the EWG said.
Cereal maker General Mills also has already cut the
sugar content in its cereals advertised to children, on average
by 16 percent since 2007, according to spokeswoman Kirstie
Foster. The company's cereals advertised to children have 10
grams of sugar or less per serving, with some at 9 grams, Foster
The EWG said companies should not market cereals containing
6 grams of sugar or more per serving to children.
(Reporting By Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Chizu