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Study Shows That Diets of Infants are Improving; Concerns Remain for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Date:10/18/2009

y of children's diets."

Nestle FITS is a dietary intake survey of a large, cross-sectional sample of parents and caregivers that provides a snapshot of the eating patterns and nutrient intakes on a given day of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers living in the United States. Data were collected for a sample of 3,378 children age zero-to-four years and provided important information on what foods are eaten at various different stages of development as children transition from an all milk diet onto the foods of the family. Nestle FITS 2008 is an updated and expanded survey from FITS 2002 that provided dietary data on a sample of 3,000 infants and toddlers age four-to-24 months.

The 2008 study offers a comparison to 2002 for those children age four-to-24 months, and provides new data and insight into the eating patterns and nutrient intakes of children age zero-to-three months and preschoolers. Mathematica Policy Research, a nonpartisan research firm, conducted the study on behalf of Nestle. Mathematica also conducted the FITS 2002 study.

"Parents and caregivers need support and education around the unique nutrition needs of young children," said Dr. Nancy Butte, PhD. Professor, USDA/ARS Children's Nutrition Research Center, Department of Pediatrics, Baylor College of Medicine. "The 2008 FITS data shows us that more feeding guidance is needed during the transition to table foods. We are seeing eating patterns in toddlers and preschoolers that mirror those of adults--24 percent of children ages two-to-five are overweight or obese in the United States. We need to put more focus on establishing healthy eating patterns during the first four years."

2008 Nestle FITS Study Highlights

  • Fewer infants are consuming sweets or sweetened beverages. Seventeen percent of infants age six-to-eight months, consumed a dessert, sweet or sweetened beverage on a given day versus 36 percent in 2002. A similar chan
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