Who knew that cereal, a food that often gets a bad rap for being loaded with sugar, could help kids stay lean and form healthy habits that ward of diseases? Researchers at the Social and Health Research Center say not all breakfasts are created equal.
According to a recent study, eating cereal can help children stay lean and keep them from developing chronic diseases like obesity-related type II diabetes.
More than 600 low-income minority children participated in the study. Kids who munched on a ready-to-eat bowl of cereal were significantly leaner than children who either skipped breakfast or ate a high-fat breakfast.
"The big picture is when you make that nutrient rich choice for breakfast you are ultimately potentially impacting your body mass index which in turn can reduce your risk for chronic disease," said Dr. Lana Balvin Frantzen, Vice President of Health and Wellness, Dairy Max.
However, there are many options in the cereal isle, and not all of them are healthy. In fact, some brands contain more sugar than a Twinkie. That's why Dr. Frantzen advises parents to look for labels lower in sugar and loaded with fiber.
The Center also announced that one in five American children don't have access to adequate food.
Among minorities, childhood obesity numbers are alarming. Forty percent of Mexican American children, 36 percent of African American children, and 26 percent of Caucasian children suffer from obesity.
In Texas, the Center says, less than 60 percent of children who qualify for free or reduced breakfast actually use it. But experts say that one bowl of free cereal could prevent children from eating junk food and would keep kids focused on academics.
"Pair that with low fat or fat free milk and you've really achieved the goal," added Dr. Frantzen.
Elena Cardenas is a San Antonio mom who is already on the right track. "Helps get their brain started and flowing," said Cardenas. Researches also say its never too late to jump on the cereal kick, so adults, dig in.