Food Sources of Total Energy and Nutrients among U.S. Infants and Toddlers: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2005-2012.Nutrients 2015; 7(8):6797-836N
Understanding the dietary intakes of infants and toddlers is important because early life nutrition influences future health outcomes. The aim of this study was to determine the dietary sources of total energy and 16 nutrients in a nationally representative sample of U.S. infants and toddlers aged 0-24 months. Data from the 2005-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey were analyzed. Dietary intake was assessed in 2740 subjects using one 24-h dietary recall. The population proportion was used to determine the contribution of foods and beverages to nutrient intakes. Overall infant formulas and baby foods were the leading sources of total energy and nutrients in infants aged 0-11.9 months. In toddlers, the diversity of food groups contributing to nutrient intakes was much greater. Important sources of total energy included milk, 100% juice and grain based mixed dishes. A number of foods of low nutritional quality also contributed to energy intakes including sweet bakery products, sugar-sweetened beverages and savory snacks. Overall non-flavored milks and ready-to-eat cereals were the most important contributors to micronutrient intakes. In conclusion this information can be used to guide parents regarding appropriate food selection as well as inform targeted dietary strategies within public health initiatives to improve the diets of infants and toddlers.