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updated: 6/30/2014 6:28 AM

Your health: Does cereal have too many vitamins for kids?

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  • A new report says children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts of vitamins from fortified breakfast cereals.

      A new report says children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts of vitamins from fortified breakfast cereals.

 

Does cereal have too many vitamins?

Young children who dig into a bowl of fortified breakfast cereal may be getting too much of a good thing, USA TODAY reports.

A new report says that "millions of children are ingesting potentially unhealthy amounts" of vitamin A, zinc and niacin, with fortified breakfast cereals the leading source of the excessive intake because all three nutrients are added in amounts calculated for adults.

Outdated nutritional labeling rules and misleading marketing by food manufacturers who use high fortification levels to make their products appear more nutritious fuel this potential risk, according to the report by the Environmental Working Group.

Getting adequate amounts of all three nutrients is needed to maintain health and prevent disease, but the report says that routinely ingesting too much vitamin A can, over time, lead to health issues such as liver damage and skeletal abnormalities.

High zinc intakes can impair copper absorption and negatively affect red and white blood cells and immune function, and consuming too much niacin can cause short-term symptoms such as rash, nausea and vomiting, the report says.

Cereals with the highest added nutrient levels include national brands such as Kellogg's Product 19 and General Mills Total Raisin Brain, as well as store brands from Food Lion, Safeway and Stop & Shop.

Parents should read to infants

The nation's largest pediatricians' group says parents should read aloud to their children every day starting in infancy, AP reports.

Doing so can enhance child development and prepare young minds for early language and reading ability.

That's according to a new policy from the American Academy of Pediatrics. The academy wants pediatricians to spread the message to parents of young children and to provide books to needy families.

To help promote reading, the doctors' group is teaming up with the Clinton Foundation's Too Small to Fail program, children's book publisher Scholastics Inc., and a group called Reach out and Read.

That nonprofit group works with doctors and hospitals to distribute books and encourage early reading.

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