The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) is the largest survey of dietary intake among infants and young children in the United States. Dietary patterns in early childhood are a key component of prevention of diet-related chronic diseases, yet little is known about how food consumption patterns of infants and young children have changed over time. The objective of this study is to examine trends in food and beverage consumption among children ages 6-23.9 months using data from the FITS conducted in 2002, 2008, and 2016. A total of 5963 infants and young children ages 6-23.9 months were included in these analyses. Food consumption data were collected using a multiple-pass 24-h recall by telephone using the Nutrition Data System for Research. Linear trends were assessed using the Wald's test in a multivariable linear regression model. Positive significant findings include increases in breast milk consumption and decreases in the consumption of sweets, sugar-sweetened beverages, and 100% fruit juice. More troubling findings include decreasing infant cereal consumption, stagnant or decreasing whole grain consumption, and stagnant consumption of vegetables. Our findings suggest some promising improvements in dietary intake among infants and toddlers in the United States over the past 15 years, but further policy, programmatic, and industry efforts are still needed.
Keywords: Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study; eating habits; food intakes; nutritional epidemiology; trends analysis; young children.