To assess the usual nutrient intakes of 3,273 US infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, aged 0 to 47 months, surveyed in the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2008; and to compare data on the usual nutrient intakes for the two waves of FITS conducted in 2002 and 2008.
The FITS 2008 is a cross-sectional survey of a national random sample of US children from birth through age 47 months. Usual nutrient intakes derived from foods, beverages, and supplements were ascertained using a telephone-administered, multiple-pass 24-hour dietary recall.
Infants aged birth to 5 months (n=382) and 6 to 11 months (n=505), toddlers aged 12 to 23 months (n=925), and preschoolers aged 24 to 47 months (n=1,461) were surveyed.
All primary caregivers completed one 24-hour dietary recall and a random subsample (n=701) completed a second 24-hour dietary recall. The personal computer version of the Software for Intake Distribution Estimation was used to estimate the 10th, 25th, 50th, 75th, and 90th percentiles, as well as the proportions below and above cutoff values defined by the Dietary Reference Intakes or the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
Usual nutrient intakes met or exceeded energy and protein requirements with minimal risk of vitamin and mineral deficiencies. The usual intakes of antioxidants, B vitamins, bone-related nutrients, and other micronutrients were adequate relative to the Adequate Intakes or Estimated Average Requirements, except for iron and zinc in a small subset of older infants, and vitamin E and potassium in toddlers and preschoolers. Intakes of synthetic folate, preformed vitamin A, zinc, and sodium exceeded Tolerable Upper Intake Level in a significant proportion of toddlers and preschoolers. Macronutrient distributions were within acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges, except for dietary fat, in some toddlers and preschoolers. Dietary fiber was low in the vast majority of toddlers and preschoolers, and saturated fat intakes exceeded recommendations for the majority of preschoolers. The prevalence of inadequate intakes, excessive intake, and intakes outside the acceptable macronutrient distribution range was similar in FITS 2002 and FITS 2008.
In FITS 2008, usual nutrient intakes were adequate for the majority of US infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, except for a small but important number of infants at risk for inadequate iron and zinc intakes. Diet quality should be improved in the transition from infancy to early childhood, particularly with respect to healthier fats and fiber in the diets of toddlers and preschoolers.