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Recode: frequency eating all cereal types, times per year


CEREALYR is a 4-digit-numeric variable.

0: Never or less than 6 times per year
9995: 9995+
9996: Not in Universe
9997: Unknown-refused
9998: Unknown-not ascertained
9999: Unknown-don't know


For sample adults, CEREALYR is a recoded variable that reports frequency with which the respondent consumes cereal in one year. This recoded variable is based on responses to questions about how often the respondent consumed cereal; respondents could report the frequency per day, week, month, or year. This variable is constructed prior to 2000 by aggregating recoded variables that report how many times per year the respondent consumed hot or cooked cereals, high fiber cereals, highly fortified cereals, and other cold cereals. Constructing CEREALYR before 2000 allows researchers to compare cereal consumption across more samples.

Researchers may wish to use CEREALYR in conjunction with CEREALTYPE, which is a recoded variable that reports the type of cereal that the respondent usually consumed. For more information on how the aggregated values of CEREALYR compare to those generated by the survey question, please see the Survey Text and Comparability tabs.

CEREALYR 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 type of cereal they typically consumed. The types of cereal asked about differ slightly across years, which may affect the frequency with which respondents report consuming cereal. Prior to 2000, respondents reported the frequency of consuming 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. CEREALYR aggregates these frequencies; detail about the types of cereals respondents reported consuming most are reported by CEREALTYPE. In 2000, the survey question asks only about cold cereal. In 2010, the survey question asks about the frequency of hot or cold cereal consumption, and then records cereal type based on verbatim responses. This expanded list of specific cereal types is reported by CEREALMTYP1 and CEREALMTYP2.

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. In 2005, this format of separate frequency and time units was not used; instead respondents' answers were organized into pre-defined categories. Researchers interested in using all years of available data may consider seeing the 2005 variable CEREALMO, and modifying CEREALYR to correspond to the pre-defined categories from 2005.

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).
  • 2000; 2010: Sample adults age 18+.


  • 1987, 1992, 2000, 2010