Monday, February 13, 2012
The latest findings from the landmark ‘Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study’ (FITS) has shown that children as young as 12 months are beginning to develop some unhealthy dietary patterns that may contribute to childhood obesity.
Encouragingly, the report also highlights how simple changes can make significant improvements to children’s diets, promote the development of healthy eating habits and give long-term health benefits.
The study, first initiated in 2002, is the largest and most comprehensive dietary intake survey of parents and caregivers of young children and provides information and insights on the diets and eating habits of infants, toddlers and preschoolers living in the United States. In its latest findings, the study found that young children do not consume enough vegetables or whole grains and consume far too many calories from solid fats and added sugar.
The study found that nearly a third of calories consumed by pre-schoolers in America come from snacks, highlighting the importance of ensuring that these ‘mini-meals’ are healthy and nutritious.
The study’s other recommendations for helping children develop healthy eating habits include:
“We are all responsible for the health of future generations, and it is much easier to establish good habits when children are young than to try to correct poor habits later,” said Dr. Jose Saavedra, M.D., FAAP, Medical Director, Nestlé Nutrition. “Parents need consistent messages about how to feed young children in a healthy way. If we can help educate parents on the big impact of relatively simple dietary changes, we may be able to help prevent obesity and chronic disease in our children.”
Full details of the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study’ (FITS) and its latest findings can be downloaded free from the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website