Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Kids aren't "stuck" on sugary cereals ... or no kidding, this is a slow news week isn't it?

"Kids not so stuck on sugary breakfast cereals, study finds"

Oh Babycenter. Merry Christmas - turns out you don't have much to worry about with those diabetic-shock- inducing cereals after all.  Not so fast.  This study attempted to show that kids don't need sugary cereals to induce them to eat breakfast.  THIS IS NOT NEWS. If kids are hungry, they will probably eat what's in front of them. That is why what's in the house is probably more important than what's advertised on tv (opinion alert - that's my opinion).
This one is just plain old poor writing. George Orwell writes about the importance of clear, concise writing in his classic Why I Write.  He reminds us that ALL writing can be and is political to some extent. even if the writer is siply trying to express something, the politics of the writer will insert itself through word choice, sentence structure and the desire for the reader to identify with the author and his/her text.
End digression

The author of this headline seems to be saying that, children aren't addicted to sugary cereals. At least that's what the headline says to me. The study doesn't show that AT ALL. The study took 91 children (yes, 91 and they were mostly minority children in a summer camp setting - no amount of inductive reasoning can get you to any generalizations about children in the U.S. as a whole) and offered some of them a choice of "Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes and Cocoa Pebbles." The other group were offered "Cheerios, Rice Krispies and Kellogg's Corn Flakes." Guess what? Both groups ate their breakfast. We didn't test whether or not, left to their own devices, the children chose the sugary cereals over the less sugary cereals. I think that test could have given us a headline that said the kids weren't stuck on sugary cereals. But, in this case, the design was bizarre. The children were given a set of choices where they could eat a sugary cereal or a sugary cereal. Likewise, they could chose a low sugar cereal or a low sugar cereal.

This is basically saying that kids will eat what's in front of them. If that's the conclusion, which was mind blowing for those " many parents [who] believe that if cereals aren't loaded with sweetness, kids won't eat them.," is the only advice, don't put sugar cereal in your child's bowl and your children will eat anyway? This is sad.  Not only did the methodology stink (sample was biased), also, the "test" and "control" groups didn't really answer a question with any useful information. The headline was deceitful because it tried entice someone to read an article about a terrible study with no REAL findings. Yay, Babycenter.com!!!!!! Everyday you add value. AS IF...

No comments:

Post a Comment