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Frequency eating cereal, past month

Codes and Frequencies

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For sample adults, CEREALMO reports how many times the respondent ate hot or cold cereal in a specified time period. Other survey years report food frequency in a standardized format, recording the number of times a food was consumed and the corresponding time unit. NHIS food frequencies in 2005 are instead classified into pre-defined frequency categories. Researchers interested in using more years of available data may consider modifying the standardized food frequency format CEREALMNO and CEREALMTP (or CEREALYR, a recoded version of the standardized format) to correspond with the pre-defined categories from 2005. Data users interested in the type of cereal consumed should see CEREALTYPE.

CEREALMO is part of a series of variables initiated in 1987 related to food, food knowledge, and cancer. For related variables, please use the IPUMS NHIS search function and drop-down menus.


There are no comparability issues with CEREALMO. There are, however, other variables that allow for making comparisons across more samples as the food frequency questions related to cereal have changed across years.


Prior to 2000, respondents were asked about hot or cooked cereals (e.g., oatmeal), high fiber cereals (e.g., granola), highly fortified cereals (e.g., Total, Product 19, or Just Right), and other cold cereals separately. In 2000, respondents were only asked to report their consumption of cold cereal. In 2005, response categories for types of cereal include hot or cooked cereals, all bran cereals, cereals with some bran or fiber, cereals with little bran or fiber, and other cold cereals. In 2010, respondents listed the specific type of cereal verbatim, rather than a general type of cereal.

Data users wishing to compare cereal consumption across multiple years might consider CEREALYR, a recoded variable the reports total cereal consumption per year. CEREALTYPE reports the type of cereal the respondent reported consuming most. Prior to 2010, respondents were asked about pre-defined categories of cereal (e.g., all bran cereals, low-bran or fiber cereals, cooked cereals, etc.). Beginning in 2010, types of cereal were recorded as verbatim responses, including specific cereal types and brands. Given the single cereal type in 2000 and the large number of more specific cereal types in 2010, these samples are not included in CEREALTYPE.


  • 2005: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 2005