Editorial: Less sugar equals healthier kids

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Seventy percent of overweight children grow up to be overweight adults. And anyone who loses the battle trying to resist a Hostess Ho-Ho knows that food habits developed young are hard to break.

By further cutting the sugar content of cereals marketed to children, a cereal maker has done a big favor to kids and the adults they grow into.

General Mills announced this week it would reduce the sugar in 10 of its cereals to single-digit grams of sugar per serving. General Mills makes Lucky Charms, Trix and Cocoa Puffs, among other brands.

The de-sweetening is not a new thing at the company. The effort to reduce sugar began two years ago. The cereal maker will cut 25 percent of the sugar in Cocoa Puffs, for example, from the original level.

Too much sugar in kids’ diets leads to dental problems, poor nutrition and obesity. Dental decay can lead to premature tooth loss, which can occur as early as high school, causing complications in future employment.

The trend toward more obesity is especially troubling.

According to a report this year from Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the percentage of obese or overweight children is at or above 30 percent in 30 states, including Illinois.

Here in Illinois, 34.9 percent of children 10-17 are overweight. That earns us the unenviable rank of 10th highest in the nation.

Lowering the sugar content of cereals is not a total answer, of course. But it helps.

In school districts across the country, sweetened cereals are part of free and reduced breakfast programs. It’s all part of retraining kids’ palates to like less sugar in their food.

We hope other cereal makers follow suit.

Rockford Register Star