More than a quarter (27%) of young children do not consume a single discrete serving of vegetables on a given day, according to the latest findings from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS). Published in a series of eight papers in the Journal of Nutrition, the study finds that of the children that do eat veggies, french fries are consumed the most.
According to FITS, food choices tend to change and more nutrient gaps appear after a child’s first birthday, when most begin eating more family foods. By age two, many children have established taste preferences and eating habits that will last a lifetime, which is why pediatricians and public health experts urge parents to help their children set healthy eating behaviors early.
FITS is the largest dietary intake study in the United States focused on infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. Nearly 10,000 parents and caregivers of children aged four and younger have been surveyed over three FITS studies, which Gerber began in 2002. FITS is now conducted by Nestlé Research in Lausanne, Switzerland, with a team of leading independent pediatric experts and nutrition scientists from academic, medical, government, and research institutions.
Other new FITS findings reveal that troubling nutrient shortfalls may start at an early age and many young children consume sweets and excess sodium: