Don't be tempted by Dora the Explorer's smile, parents: In a new study, 84 percent of children's foods that were marketed as "healthy" didn't, in fact, meet basic nutritional standards. The study was led by the Oakland, Calif.-based Prevention Institute, whose researchers examined 58 children's products, including Dora the Explorer Fruit Shapes and Apple Jacks, and found only 49 could be considered healthy. Among the other findings:
- More than half (57%) of the study products qualified as high sugar, and 95% of products contained added sugar.
- More than half (53%) were low in fiber.
- More than half (53%) of products did not contain any fruits or vegetables; of the fruits and vegetables found, half came from just 2 ingredients - tomatoes and corn.
- 24% of prepared foods were high in saturated fats.
- More than 1/3 (36%) of prepared foods & meals were high in sodium.
Nutritionist Juliet Sims said in a release that she was shocked by the findings that "more often than not, companies are telling parents food is healthy when it's not." But one person who wasn't surprised was nutritionist Marion Nestle, PhD, who reminded readers of her blog today that "front-of-package labels, like health claims, are about marketing, not health."