Data Cart

Your data extract

0 variables
0 samples
View Cart
Recode: General type of cereal consumed most often

Codes and Frequencies

Can't find the category you are looking for? Try the Detailed codes


For sample adults, CEREALTYPE reports the two kinds of cereal the respondent ate most often when eating cereal. This question was asked directly of respondents beginning in 2005; prior to 2005 CEREALTYPE is a constructed variable. Constructing CEREALTYPE before 2000 allows researchers to compare cereal consumption across more samples. Researchers may wish to use CEREALTYPE in conjunction with CEREALYR, which is a recoded variable that reports the number of times the respondent consumes cereal in one year. For more information on how the constructed values of CEREALTYPE compare to those generated by the survey question, please see the Survey Text and Comparability tabs.

CEREALTYPE 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.


Prior to 2000, respondents were asked to report the frequency with which they ate four different types of cereal. Beginning in 2005, respondents were instead asked about the frequency for hot and cold cereal consumption in general, and then asked about the two types of cereal they typically consumed most. Prior to 2005, CEREALTYPE uses the recoded frequencies for different types of cereal consumed per year to determine which type of cereal the respondent ate most often; this value is used for CEREALTYPE. A response category was created for respondents prior to 2005 who consumed more than two types of cereal equally. However, such response categories are not available as part of the samples in which the question was asked directly.

The availability of response categories for cereal types differs slightly 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. 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. These response categories were combined based on the suggested example cereals included in each category; therefore the general name for the category of cereals may be misleading (e.g. high fiber cereals are merged with some bran/fiber cereals as the example cereal types for these two categories aligned most closely). All bran cereals were not included prior to 2005 and highly fortified cereals were not included in 2005.

In 2000, respondents were only asked to report their consumption of cold cereal. In 2010, respondents listed the specific type of cereal verbatim, rather than a general type of cereal. 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. Researchers wishing to explore the cereal types available in 2010 should see CEREALMTYP1 and CEREALMTYP2, which report the more specific cereal types reported by respondents.

Prior to 2000, respondents were asked about foods they usually ate in the past year. Beginning in 2000, this recall period was reduced to foods the respondent usually ate in the past month. The structure of the responses (recording number of times a food was consumed and the time unit associated with that frequency) makes it possible to compare response categories even with different recall periods

Changes in survey design (e.g., quarters in which the supplement was collected) may affect raw frequencies, but do not affect comparability of the variable. As always, data users should use the prescribed IHIS weights.


  • 1987: Half of sample persons age 18+ (excluded from CACT supplement).
  • 1992: Half of sample persons age 18+ in quarters 1 and 2, and in 2 weeks of quarter 3 (excluded from CACT supplement).
  • 2005: Sample adults 18+ who ate cereal in the past month.


  • 1987, 1992, 2005