Study: Least Healthy Cereals Most Marketed to Children

Report co-author says children are "blitzed" by marketing on TV and Internet.

ByABC News via logo
October 25, 2009, 10:44 PM

Oct. 26, 2009— -- Six hundred and forty-two times a year. That is how often the average American preschooler sees an advertisement for cereal, according to a new study by Yale University.

So it puts things in perspective when the same study says that cereals with the biggest marketing push also happen to be among the least nutritious, when analyzed using a nutrient profiling system developed at Oxford University.

"If one looks at the rank order list of the worst nutrition cereals it's stunning how the worst cereals are marketed so aggressively to children," Kelly Brownell, a co-author of the study, said.

ABC News obtained an advance copy of the study, which will be released Monday when the Obesity Society holds its annual meeting in Washington. The study's authors are posting their findings at

The scathing report by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity says it provides proof for parents that children will eat unsweetened cereals if they are offered.

"So, there are ways to train kids to eat healthier food, it's all about what they're exposed to," Brownell said.

Advertisers have found new ways to expose children to their products. At, Trix cereal goes far beyond its old television spot featuring a bouncing rabbit and the slogan, "Trix Are for Kids!" The site gives children entree to a colorful "Trix World" where they can play a bowling game at "Fruitalicious Lanes" or explore a "Rabbitropolis" that has a movie theater showing "Trix Toons." 1. Reese's Puffs

2. Corn Pops

3. Lucky Charms

4. Cinnamon Toast Crunch (tied)

4. Cap'n Crunch (tied)

6. Trix (tied)

6. Froot Loops (tied)

6. Fruity and Cocoa Pebbles (tied)

9. Cocoa Puffs

10. Cookie Crisp

ABC News' Kelly Hagan and Kate McCarthy contributed to this report.