Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study: characteristics and usual nutrient intake of Hispanic and non-Hispanic infants and toddlers

J Am Diet Assoc. 2006 Jan;106(1 Suppl 1):S84-95. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2005.09.040.


Objective: To compare demographic and maternal characteristics and usual nutrient intakes of Hispanic and non-Hispanic infants and toddlers 4 to 24 months of age in the United States.

Design: We conducted three interviews by telephone to collect information on sociodemographic and maternal characteristics, feeding practices, and dietary intake in the 2002 Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study. We collected 24-hour dietary recalls, including a second day's intake on a subsample, using the Nutrition Data System for Research. We used the Personal Computer version of the Software for Intake Distribution Estimation to estimate usual nutrient intake and nutrient adequacy and excess for three age subgroups-infants 4-5 months, infants 6-11 months, and toddlers 12-24 months-and Hispanic or non-Hispanic ethnicity.

Subjects: A national sample of 3,022 infants and toddlers age 4-24 months, including 371 Hispanic and 2,637 non-Hispanic subjects.

Statistical analysis: We compared means, percentile distributions, and percentages by age/Hispanic ethnicity subgroup, and applied the Dietary Reference Intakes to assess nutrient intakes.

Results: Mothers of Hispanic infants and toddlers were younger, less likely to be married, and had lower education levels than mothers of non-Hispanic infants and toddlers (P<.01). Hispanic infants and toddlers had significantly higher rates of participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children than non-Hispanic infants and toddlers (42% to 23%) and were more likely to reside in urban areas and have lower annual household income levels (P<.01). There were no significant differences in usual energy intake between Hispanic and non-Hispanic infants and toddlers, and mean usual energy intake exceeded the mean estimated energy requirement for all age/ethnicity subgroups. Hispanic toddlers consumed a significantly higher proportion of energy from carbohydrate (56% to 53%, P<.01) and a significantly lower percentage of energy from fat (31% to 33%, P<.01) than non-Hispanics. Comparing usual mean intakes, Hispanic infants age 6 to 11 months had a significantly lower intake of calcium than non-Hispanics (means of 574 mg and 626 mg per day, respectively, P<.05) and a significantly higher intake of sodium compared with non-Hispanics of the same age (means of 647 mg to 476 mg per day, P<.01). For infants, mean usual intakes were adequate for all nutrients. For toddlers, the prevalence of nutrient inadequacy was low (<1%) with the exception of vitamin E, which was inadequate for 39% of Hispanic toddlers and 50% of non-Hispanic toddlers. For nutrients with defined Tolerable Upper Intake Levels, more than one third to almost half of toddlers exceeded the Tolerable Upper Intake Levels for vitamin A and zinc, and more than half (53% and 58% for Hispanics and non-Hispanic toddlers, respectively) exceeded the Tolerable Upper Intake Level for sodium. Usual mean intakes of vitamins A, C, and E and folate, potassium, and fiber were significantly higher among Hispanic toddlers compared with non-Hispanic toddlers.

Conclusions: The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study data provide information that is useful to practitioners, Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children program staff, and parents for delivering nutrition education messages that are consistent with dietary guidance for infants and toddlers as well as compatible with cultural preferences.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black People / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet Surveys
  • Educational Status
  • Feeding Behavior / ethnology
  • Female
  • Food Preferences
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Male
  • Marital Status
  • Minerals / administration & dosage
  • Minerals / adverse effects
  • Mothers* / education
  • Mothers* / psychology
  • Mothers* / statistics & numerical data
  • Nutrition Policy*
  • Nutritional Requirements
  • Poverty
  • United States
  • Vitamins / administration & dosage
  • Vitamins / adverse effects
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*


  • Minerals
  • Vitamins