Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Kellogg's commits to raising nutrition of kids food

I read this article with great interest the other day. Kellogg's the world's leading cereal producer has caved to public pressure and will be upgrading the nutrition standards of the cereals that it advertises to children under the age of 12. It will be revising the caloric content and salt and sugar content of it's cereals. While I applaud this development and agree that it's a good thing for lobbyists to push for a healthier food standard, I can't help wondering about a lot of issues the article raised for me.

The first thought of course was that they could meet those guidelines just by making the portion sizes smaller, which doesn't change anything but the label.

The other thing that it had me wondering however was why is it necessary to control advertising to children? Why is it the responsibility of the food producers to make kids food healthier instead of the responsibility of parents to make informed choices as consumers? Aren't parents the ones who purchase the breakfast cereal, and aren't they able to say no and explain to their children why they are making that choice?

Perhaps I don't understand because I don't let my kids watch commercial television most of the time. If they want Dora, I'll rent the DVD. They don't watch TV unless I'm there with them. Is Shrek really more of an influence for some children than their parents are? I doubt it but I want to hear your opinion about all of this.


Scuzzlewump said...

I think it's a bit of both....yes, I tell my children no, they can't have the sugary cereals...we buy a box once or twice a year as a special snack. So in a way, yes, it IS up to the parents to make the decision as to what their children can and cannot eat, but at the same time, I must admit it WOULD be nice if the cereal people could make the "special" cereals a bit more healthy, so that even that once or twice a year is okay to feed them....then it's still a special treat for them, but it's not so big of a sugar buzz, either.
I could just choose to never buy those cereals at all, but partly I buy them for ME...once in a blue moon, I really want froot loops, for example. :)

AnnMarie said...

I'm a bit behind in my reading but wanted to comment! Sure, LOTS of kids spend more time watching TV by themselves than being with Mom and Dad. The average TV time for a TWO YEAR OLD is 2 hours a day! (I have a 2-year old, so I didn't pay attention to older kid amounts, but it only goes up from there.) A significant number of kids have TVs in their bedroom, too. Why? I've seen quotes that parents just don't want to watch what their kids do, so this lets them watch the shows w/o bothering family!

My daughter is 2.5. She has no idea who Dora, Thomas, Barney, Sesame Street, or any other typical childhood characters are. (To be fully honest, we do have some Pooh things around because I was a Pooh fan, but she doesn't know them as characters really, more as a pig, a bear, etc.) She does watch TV--but only things we parents want to watch, so she's seen bits of House, Good Eats, Iron Chef, Ninja Warrior, Star Wars, etc. Recently, she started paying more attention than she used to (she used to watch for 5-10 minutes than go play) so we watch tv even less when she's up. We encourage her to go play when we watch TV, not to watch with us.

I wonder what will happen when she goes to preschool next spring?

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