Top foods contributing to excess fat, sodium in children’s diets

April 30, 2014

Research presented at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference shows that cheese, hot dogs, and whole and 2% milk may be among the top foods and beverages contributing to saturated fat and sodium intakes of toddlers and preschoolers. The new findings are from a recent analysis of the 2008 Nestle Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), which evaluated the diets of 3,378 children from birth to four years of age.

Data from the recent FITS analysis shows that while young children are snacking more frequently at home, snacks consumed outside the home add about 50 additional calories to their daily diets. Kathleen Reidy, Head of Nutrition Science at Nestle Infant Nutrition, presented an abstract on the recent analysis of FITS 2008 during the “Nutrition Education: Childhood Obesity Prevention I” symposium at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference.

Reidy, the lead author of an analysis examining top food sources contributing to energy (calories), saturated fat, and sodium intake in the diets of toddlers (12–23 months) and preschoolers (24–47 months) found that few foods contribute almost 50% of daily calories—these include milk, cheese, bread and rolls, ready-to-eat cereals, poultry (chicken and turkey), butter, margarine or other fats. In addition, preschoolers are consuming nearly one-third, or about 400, of their total daily calories from solid fats and added sugars. The top foods representing 70% of saturated fat intake include milk, cheese, butter, hot dogs/bacon, beef, poultry, and cakes/cookies.

The top foods contributing almost 40% of young children’s sodium intake include milk, hot dogs and bacon, chicken/turkey, cheese, bread and rolls, crackers, and ready-to-eat cereals. This intake equates to a child (24–47 months) consuming an average of 1,863 mg of sodium per day.

Press release