Food consumption patterns of infants and toddlers: where are we now?

J Am Diet Assoc. 2010 Dec;110(12 Suppl):S38-51. doi: 10.1016/j.jada.2010.09.001.


Objectives: To describe current infant-feeding practices and current food group consumption patterns of infants and toddlers and to compare 2008 data with 2002 data to identify shifts in these practices and food consumption over time.

Design: The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2008 is a cross-sectional survey of a national random sample of US children from birth up to age 4 years. Data for three age subgroups (infants 4 to 5.9 months and 6 to 11.9 months and toddlers 12 to 23.9 months) were used from the 2002 (n=2,884) and 2008 surveys (n=1,596).

Statistical methods: All analyses use sample weights that reflect the US population aged 4 to 24 months. Descriptive statistics (means, proportions, and standard errors) and t tests were calculated using SUDAAN (release 9, 2005, Research Triangle Park Institute, Research Triangle Park, NC).

Results: These data show a higher percentage of infants receiving breast milk from 4 to 11.9 months of age with a concurrent decreasing percentage of infants receiving formula, which is significantly different from data for the 9- to 11.9-month-old age group. The use of complementary foods also appears to be delayed in FITS 2008: There is a significantly lower proportion of infants consuming infant cereal at 9 to 11.9 months in FITS 2008 compared to 2002 data. Fruit and vegetable consumption remains lower than desired. Significant reductions in the percentage of infants and toddlers consuming any desserts or candy, sweetened beverages, and salty snacks were seen in 2008.

Conclusions: The findings presented here provide important insights to the content of messages and types of interventions that are still needed to improve the diets of infants and toddlers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diet / statistics & numerical data*
  • Diet / trends*
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Food / statistics & numerical data
  • Infant Formula
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Weaning*