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Nearly 40 percent of millennials don't eat cereal for breakfast

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Well-known instruction has long said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

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But increasingly, breakfast looks different for different generations.

The popularity of cereal as a go-to breakfast meal has slowly been fading since the late 1990s. Sales, which reached $13.9 billion in 2000, fell to about $10 billion in 2015, The New York Times reported.

“The cereal category is certainly shifting,” said Melissa Abbott, director of culinary insights for the Hartman Group, a consumer food research organization. “Consumers overall are less interested in industrially processed grains as a meaningful start to their day.”

An August 2015 report by global market research company Mintel reported that nearly half of American baby boomers and almost 40 percent of The Silent Generation, made up of people born between 1923 and 1944, said the cereals they loved as children remain their favorites. That statistic doesn't include those surveyed who still prefer cereal as a breakfast option but have changed which cereal they like to eat over time.

The same study reported 40 percent of millennials consider cereal an undesirable breakfast choice because of the inconvenience of cleaning the bowls they used.

Many younger consumers often don’t eat breakfast at all. When they do, they opt for hot grains, smoothies, yogurt or breakfast sandwiches, which they usually eat somewhere other than home or on the go.

For older generations, cereal has garnered appreciation for packaging, which often reflected pop culture and current events in past decades. But cereal often simply serves as a quick snack between meals for millennials. It usually doesn't evoke emotions of nostalgia like it does for baby boomers.

One millennial-aged New York pastry chef told the New York times she considers cereal "more as a creative outlet or a way to dip into the past than as breakfast."

But some say cereal has a bright future. 

John A. Bryant, the Kellogg Company’s chief executive, predicted that the company's cereal sales in the United States would grow by 1 or 2 percent this year.

Plus, cereal companies have been incorporating their products into various items, like crackers and snack bars. Country singer Trisha Yearwood recently created a cocktail infused with milk, Cinnamon Toast Crunch cereal and Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Other famous chefs have incorporated cereal into cutting-edge cuisine.

“They have to embrace that people love the flavor and texture of cereal and the vintage nature, but it’s not about breakfast,” said Kellogg's consultant Christina Tosi.

Read more here.

Powerful commercial issues apology to women on behalf of dads everywhere

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A powerful commercial created by Indian detergent company Ariel brings attention to traditional gender roles that are passed down from generation to generation in families around the world and encourages men to take more active roles in their homes. 

The commercial is a part of a campaign called #ShareTheLoad, which "shows the impact parents' behaviors and actions in the house have on their children and how men's participation in day-to-day chores can break down larger and problematic gender stereotypes," according to the Huffington Post

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The campaign's most recent commercial, released on Feb. 19, shows a woman coming home from work and immediately attending to tasks like preparing dinner, cleaning the house, taking care of her son and sorting out work affairs on a business call. She does all of those things at the same time while her husband sits on the couch, watching television. Her father sits at a table, surveying the situation. 

While the woman never conveys stress, viewers can sympathize with her as she rushes from one task to the next.

"I am so sorry," her father says in a voiceover. "Sorry that you have to do this all on your own, sorry that I never stopped you while you were playing house. I never told you that it’s not your job alone but your husband’s too."

In an extended message, the father apologizes on behalf of dads everywhere for influencing women to believe that juggling all household tasks is solely their responsibility. 

"But how could I say (sorry) when I never helped your mom either? And what you saw, you learned," he says. "Your husband must have learned the same thing from his dad. Sorry on behalf of his dad. Sorry on behalf of every dad who set the wrong example." 

He pledges to help change the idea that the woman is expected to complete all the household chores by saying he'll start by doing the laundry.

"It’s not too late, I will make a conscious effort to help your mom with the household chores," he says in the video. "I may not become the king of the kitchen, but at least I can help out with the laundry. All these years I’ve been wrong, it’s time to set things right." 

In the final screen, a message asks viewers, "Why is laundry only a mother's job?" 

The video was shared on Facebook more than 100,000 times in one week.

Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg shared the video on her own Facebook page, saying: "This is one of the most powerful videos I have ever seen -- showing how stereotypes hurt all of us and are passed from generation to generation. When little girls and boys play house they model their parents' behavior; this doesn’t just impact their childhood games, it shapes their long-term dreams." 

Josy Paul, chief creative officer of BBDO India, the advertising company that created the #ShareTheLoad campaign, said that the commercial aims to promote "household equality." 

"The film is about roles and responsibility, and about setting the right example by being the right role model," Paul told The Economic Times of India. "The film is about ensuring the right message for the next generation, free from prejudice." 

5 sad facts about Americans’ savings habits

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Spend less than you earn. It’s not a complicated concept, but in reality, saving is anything but simple. Americans have struggled for years to save adequately for emergencies, retirement and major life events, and that’s still the case, according to a new survey.

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The Consumer Federation of America and the American Savings Education Council coordinated the survey as a part of America Saves Week, which encourages people to make automatic contributions to their savings. This is the survey’s ninth year and it includes responses from a nationally representative sample of 1,004 American adults. The data comes from interviews conducted by landlines and cellphones from Jan. 28 through Jan. 31 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3 percentage points.

The leading statistic from the survey: Fewer than half of Americans are making good or excellent progress toward their savings goals. Here are some more details on that dismal status:

1. Just over half of Americans aren’t even saving 5 percent of their income.

Only 49 percent reported saving at least 5 percent of their income. For reference, a 10 percent to 15 percent savings rate is often recommended.

2. Only 66 percent reported saving at least some of their income.

Think of that from a different angle: About one third of Americans aren’t saving at all.

3. Even fewer have enough to cover an emergency.

Sixty-three percent said they have enough to pay for an unexpected expense like a car repair or visit to the doctor. That puts 37 percent of people in a vulnerable state. Without savings, people may need to turn to expensive financing like high-interest credit cards or payday loans to cover unexpected expenses or a loss of income, which can make their financial situation worse. Alternatively, people without savings may not be able to make all the payments they need to if something disrupts their budget, which can lead to loan default, debt collection accounts and credit score damage. 

4. There’s a gender gap in financial well-being. 

Women fall behind men in 12 areas of financial stability, according to the survey. For example, 72 percent of men report spending less than they make and saving the difference. Only 60 percent of women reported the same habit. About two-thirds -- 74 percent -- of men said they’re making progress on their savings compared to 67 percent of women, and while only 44 percent of men said that progress was good or excellent, only 36 percent of women gave that assessment.

The difference can be attributed to the persistent wage gap. 

“The fact that men have larger incomes and financial assets than women makes it easier for them to save,” Stephen Brobeck, executive director of CFA and a founder of America Saves, said in a press release.

5. Fewer people are saving enough to retire comfortably.

In 2015, 55 percent of non-retired adults said they were “saving enough for a retirement in which you will have a desirable standard of living.” This year, that fell to 52 percent, though that’s within the margin of error. Again, there’s a gender gap: 57 percent of non-retired men said they are saving enough, while only 47 percent of their female peers did.

The news release did include a bit of optimism. According to the survey, people who have specific savings goals are much more likely to have good savings habits. A plan may not guarantee you success, but it could help you get to a better financial situation.

High schoolers with same last name set record straight with sarcastic yearbook message

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Many high schools give graduating students the opportunity to post a quote below their senior year yearbook photo.

Some choose a quote that describes them. Others choose something inspirational or funny. 

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One group of girls had a simple message for yearbook readers: "We are not related." 

The girls - Alice, Kim, Theresa and Vivian - all share the last name Nguyen (pronounced "win").

Or four

 

In 2012, eight girls graduating from Presentation High School in San Jose, California had a similar message.

"We know what you're thinking, and, no, we're not related," they wrote collectively underneath their pictures. 

 View post on imgur.com

According to one Reddit user, the last name Nguyen is popular because when the Nguyen Dynasty seized power in Vietnam in the early 19th century, its leaders "awarded" the last name to many citizens. 

"Many Vietnamese changed their name or were rewarded the honored name Nguyen during the Nguyen dynasty's rule, so a man who had his name changed would marry a woman, whose name would now be Nguyen, who'd have many children, all of them all being Nguyen as well," the user wrote. 

Why you shouldn't panic over Zika virus

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Confirmed cases of the Zika virus, a mosquito-transmitted illness related to yellow fever and dengue and linked to microcephaly, have been growing rapidly. 

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The illness first rose to attention in Brazil in April 2015 after the discovery of an epidemic of a birth defect in which children were born with smaller than normal cerebrums. Since then, the virus has been been found in more than 20 countries in Latin America alone. In January 2016, the CDC released an extensive list of countries pregnant women should not travel to in order to prevent contracting the illness.  

World Health Organization director general Dr. Margaret Chan referred to the spread of the virus as "explosive" and said Zika had gone "from a mild threat to one of alarming proportions." Some even compared it to the Ebola epidemic.

The number of reported cases in the U.S. began to grow by the end of January. At least 30 people were confirmed to have the virus in states like Texas, Massachusetts, Arkansas, New York, Hawaii and Virginia. 

But here's why Americans don't need to be fearful that Zika will plague the U.S. just yet: Everyone that has been diagnosed with a Zika infection contracted it while traveling abroad. There have been no cases in which the virus has been transmitted locally. 

And most people don't know that prior to the widespread news of Zika, the CDC diagnosed 14 returning American travelers with Zika between 2007 and 2014. None of those cases sparked Zika outbreaks in the U.S.

"We're expecting a lot of travel-associated cases," Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director for the CDC, said on Thursday. 

Another thing to consider: The virus is spread by Aedes mosquitoes, which are mostly found in tropical and subtropical regions. In the countries where Zika is spreading rapidly, people can contract the virus in their homes, where the mosquitoes like to dwell. Many Latin American homes don't have air-conditioning; people leave their windows people for fresh air, an invitation for the insects. Plus, more trash in Latin American cities means more opportunities for standing water to collect, creating the perfect breeding grounds for the mosquitoes. In the U.S., most people have screens on windows and doors and air-conditioning.

"(The Aedes mosquitoes) is a bit of a homebody," infectious disease expert Daniel Lucey of Georgetown University told BuzzFeed News.

According to Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, an assistant professor in the department of environmental sciences at Emory College in Atlanta, it's relatively difficult for individual travelers infected abroad to spread Zika in the U.S. The primary reason is because most people infected with the virus clear it from their blood in less than a week. Mosquitoes can only become infected with the virus if they bite someone during that small window of time. Many travelers have cleared the virus before they even return to the U.S., Vazquez-Prokopec reported. 

What's more, the mosquito doesn’t travel far from where it’s born, a limiting factor in its ability to spread the Zika virus. Moreover, in the U.S., most swamps are drained, eliminating a popular place where the bug lays eggs.

At a press conference on Thursday, American officials insisted that a Zika outbreak in the U.S. is unlikely and reminded people that the country’s history of mosquito-control efforts have previously suppressed other mosquito-borne illnesses such as dengue and chikungunya.

'Where's dad bod Ken?:' Men react to new Barbie body shapes

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Soon after Mattel announced Barbie dolls would come in new skin tones, heights and body sizes, an unlikely group thinks the company should do more to diversify the brand's products. 

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Fifty-seven years after the iconic tall, blond doll debuted, Mattel issued the biggest changes in the children's toy yet. The company announced it'd sell Barbies with seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 different hairstyles in tall, petite and curvy body shapes. 

Many women applauded the move, saying Mattel's action was an appropriate effort to reflect today's youth.

Others said the offering came too late.

But another group -- adult men -- hope Mattel will offer even more diverse models: varied versions of the Ken doll. 

Mattel is among many companies that have aimed to decrease promotion of "gendered toys," but Barbie is still marketed almost exclusively toward young girls.

Even still, many men have taken to social media to suggest the company create more realistic-looking male companions for Barbie.

It's unclear whether most of those commenting on the body types of the male toys genuinely wish to see more varied versions of the Ken doll or if their complaints serve the purpose of criticizing the company's action, gender equality and other political topics. 

Barbie evolves: Mattel releases 3 new body types to reflect youth

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The world's best-selling doll just got a makeover.

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 Beginning Jan. 28, Barbie will be available in three new body types: petite, tall and curvy. The new offerings are a part of the first major change by Mattel in the iconic doll's 57-year history.

The official Twitter account for Barbie tweeted the announcement Thursday.

"We proudly add three new body types to our line," the tweet reads. "Meet the new dolls. #TheDollEvolves."

Fans have already voiced support on social media.

Others said the move came too late.

"Yes, some people will say we are late to the game," said Evelyn Mazzocco, head of the Barbie brand. "But changes at a huge corporation take time."

The company hopes that the new diverse body types, as well as other changes like new skin tones and different textures of hair, will appeal to their young audience of consumers.  

According to TIME, about 92% of American girls ages 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie, earning Mattel approximately $1 billion in sales each year.

Read more here and check out all the new designs here

Facebook friends are fake friends, according to a study

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You might have hundreds or even thousands of friends on Facebook. 

But how many of them would be there for you in a time of need? 

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A new study reminds social media users to distinguish the difference between a Facebook friend and a real friend.

In fact, the report says that almost all Facebook friends are entirely fake.

The research, conducted by Robin Dunbar, a professor of evolutionary psychology at Oxford University, and published by the Royal Society, compares real-life friendship to virtual ones. According to Dunbar, for every 150 Facebook friends a user has, only four are dependable and 13 would express sympathy during an “emotional crisis.” In total, only about 15 Facebook friends could be counted as real friends.

“There is a cognitive constraint on the size of social networks that even the communication advantages of online media are unable to overcome,” the report says. “In practical terms, it may reflect the fact that real (as opposed to casual) relationships require at least occasional face-to-face interaction to maintain them.”

Dunbar said that instead of growing one's social circle, Facebook and other social media platforms help slow the pace at which friendships fade. Generally, friendships that are limited in face-to-face interaction are also limited in potential to prosper.

“Friendships, in particular, have a natural decay rate in the absence of contact, and social media may well function to slow down the rate of decay,” Dunbar wrote. “However, that alone may not be sufficient to prevent friendships eventually dying naturally if they are not occasionally reinforced by face-to-face interaction.”

The study also found that younger people are more likely to have more Facebook friends, but older social media users tend to have more friends in real life. One reason for this is because social media encourages “promiscuous ‘friending’ of individuals who often have very tenuous links.”

Plus, people who do and don't use Facebook have, on average, the same amount of friends.

Read more here.

Kansas lawmaker under fire for dress code that singles out women

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A Kansas lawmaker has imposed a strict dress code that has enraged many of the women he works with.

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State Sen. Mitch Holmes (R) created an 11-point code of conduct, prohibiting women who testify on bills from wearing clothing with deep necklines, miniskirts and other "distracting" garments.

The senator considered outlining wardrobe guidelines for men but decided not to because he said they don't need explicit instructions on how to look professional, The Topeka Capital-Journal reported.

Unsurprisingly, Holmes' female counterparts are not happy with the regulations.

"For crying out loud, what century is this?" State Sen. Laura Kelly said Thursday.  

Holmes, 53, said the need for the restrictions is necessary because certain articles of clothing pose a distraction. Yet, the guidelines don't specify a minimum skirt length or a permissible neckline for blouses.

"Who's going to define low-cut?" said Sen. Vicki Schmidt, a Topeka Republican. "Does it apply to senators?"

Holmes, chairman of the Senate Ethics and Elections Committee, said the answer to that question is "hard to define."

"Put it out there, and let people know we're really looking for you to be addressing the issue rather than trying to distract or bring eyes to yourself," he said.

Wichita Sen. Oletha Faust-Goudeau agrees that people testifying before committees should dress professionally, but she doesn't think the lack of consistency for men and women is appropriate or fair.

"In my 13 years in the Legislature, that's the first time I've ever read anything like that," Faust-Goudeau told the Associated Press. "I thought it was a little strange."

Other female lawmakers think the new rules will deter people from testifying. 

"I am more interested in what they have to say about the direction our state should go than what they're wearing that day," said Sen. Carolyn McGinn (R).

Senate President Susan Wagle thinks the committee will reconsider the dress code Wednesday at its next meeting.

"The legislative process eventually always evolves to a consensus of the majority without leadership having to take action," she said.

Navy reviewing job titles in attempt to go gender neutral

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The U.S. Navy is reviewing job titles and other terms as it plans to go gender-neutral.

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The review was ordered by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus and has been criticized as political correctness gone overboard. 

The Navy Times reports that a similar memo and mandate was sent to the commandant of the Marine Corps.  

With barriers removed from where women can serve, the review is intended to change job titles to reflect that. Seaman, yeoman, airman, fireman and midshipman are the most likely to be changed following the review, though more than 20 jobs currently include the term "man."

Pay rates may also change for some positions as part of the review.

The final report is due by April 1.  

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