More than a quarter (27 percent) of young children do not consume a single discrete serving of vegetables on a given day, according to the latest findings from the landmark Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS). Among the toddlers who do, french fries are the No. 1 vegetable consumed, show the FITS findings, which have just been published in a series of eight papers in the Journal of Nutrition, a publication of the American Society for Nutrition.
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.
"Good nutrition during a child’s early years is particularly critical because it sets the stage for healthy eating throughout life," said Wendy Johnson, Ph.D., M.P.H., R.D., Vice President, Nutrition, Health and Wellness for Nestlé USA. "Exposing young children to a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, and a variety of foods and flavors, is important as children are forming their tastes and eating habits for life."
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 under age four 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. As part of the company’s Nestlé for Healthier Kids initiative to help 50 million children lead healthier lives by 2030, FITS helps to build, share and apply nutritional knowledge.
Read the press release