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Nutrient Intake of Infants and Toddlers in the UAE - The UAE FITS Study

Posted:  Sunday, September 01, 2013

The 27th Congress of the International Paediatric Association, MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA

The first 2 years of life are critical in a child’s cognitive, social, physical and emotional development. The type of nutrition provided during this period plays an important part in both growth and development and in establishing future food preferences, eating habits, and health. Little is known about the eating habits of children of this age group in the UAE, especially how subgroups of different ages vary in their food consumption and nutrient intake. A study from the UAE has shown that 60% of infants at five months, and 37% at 12months were breastfed, and about 90% of infants had been introduced to complementary food between four and six months - the period recommended by the American Academy of Paediatrics (AAP)1. In comparison, only 30% of sub-Saharan African children <6 months of age were breastfed despite compelling evidence of its life-saving benefits. In the USA, mean intake of infants were found to exceed the adequate intake for all nutrients. For toddlers 12 to 24 months of age, the estimated prevalence of inadequacy was low for most nutrients. The aim of the study was to assess the nutrient adequacy of the diet of UAE infants and toddlers 6 to 24 months of age.

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