Findings presented October 25 in San Antonio show infants and toddlers are consuming too many calories and eating inappropriate foods as young as four to six months. Although they are meeting their vitamin and mineral requirements, many babies show signs of the unhealthy diet adopted by much of the American adult population. For example:
Findings from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), a scientific survey of the eating habits and nutrient intakes of a cross-sectional, random sample of more than 3,000 children ranging from four to 24 months of age, were presented at the American Dietetic Association's (ADA) annual conference. The complete findings will be published as a supplement to the January Journal of the American Dietetic Association.
Gerber developed the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) in response to the lack of large-scale dietary intake studies for the under-two age group. The purpose of FITS was to: investigate infant and toddler food choices and nutrient intakes; examine the relationship between food intakes and self-feeding; and determine whether the Institute of Medicine's standards for Dietary Reference Intakes for vitamins and minerals were being met.
The study used dietary recall information provided by parents and caregivers and a customized, computerized methodology to record the data. FITS represents the first time the Institute of Medicine's Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) were used to assess energy intakes on a large scale of children less than two years.