Current electrolyte intakes of infants and toddlers.J Am Diet Assoc 2006; 106(1 Suppl 1):S43-51JA
To determine how sodium, chloride, and potassium intakes of today's infants and toddlers compare with the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) of these nutrients established recently by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine.
Population estimates of usual intake distributions of sodium, chloride (assumed to be equamolar to sodium), and potassium of 4- to 5-, 6- to 11-, and 12- to 24-month-old infants and toddlers were calculated and compared with DRIs of these nutrients by 0- to 6-month-old, 7- to 12-month-old, and 1- to 3-year-old children.
Infants and toddlers (n=3,022) who participated in the 2002 Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study.
Means and distributions (percentiles) of the usual intakes of sodium, chloride, and potassium were calculated using Institute of Medicine-recommended procedures and compared with the DRIs (ie, Adequate Intake [AI] and tolerable upper intake level [UL]).
Mean sodium and chloride intakes of 4- to 5-month-old infants (188 mg/day and 290 mg/day, respectively) were 57% greater than the AIs (120 mg/day and 180 mg/day) and mean potassium intake (730 mg/day) was 83% higher than the AI (400 mg/day). Mean sodium, chloride, and potassium intakes of 6- to 11-month-old infants were 493 mg/day, 761 mg/day, and 1,225 mg/day, respectively-33%, 33%, and 75% higher than the AIs of these nutrients for this age group (sodium, 370 mg/day; chloride, 570 mg/day; potassium, 700 mg/day). Even the 10th percentile of potassium intake of this age group was greater than the AI. The usual mean sodium and chloride intakes of 12- to 24-month-old toddlers (1,638 mg/day and 2,528 mg/day, respectively) were 64% higher than the AIs (1,000 mg/day and 1,540 mg/day, respectively) and the usual mean sodium and chloride intakes of 58% of this age group were above the ULs. In contrast, mean potassium intake of 12- to 24-month-old toddlers (1,971 mg/day) was only 66% of the AI (3,000 mg/day). At all ages, sources of sodium, chloride, and potassium intakes reflected current feeding guidelines, primarily human milk and formula prior to 6 months of age and primarily cow's milk and table foods after 1 year of age.
Mean sodium and chloride intakes of infants and toddlers who participated in the 2002 Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study exceeded the recently established AIs of these nutrients and the mean intake of 58% of toddlers exceeded the ULs. Mean potassium intake of infants also exceeded the AI of potassium, but the mean potassium intake of toddlers was only 66% of the AI. Whether current intakes of sodium, chloride, and potassium by infants and toddlers are problematical is not clear. Nonetheless, it seems desirable to bring these intakes closer to AIs. This can be accomplished by continuing breast- or formula-feeding and delaying the introduction of cow's milk; limiting the amount of salt added to home-prepared foods; limiting the intake of high-sodium foods, such as processed meats and salty snacks; and increasing the intake of fruits (high potassium and low sodium content) and vegetables (moderate potassium and sodium content).