Early Life Nutrition and the Role of Complementary Feeding on Later Adherence to the Mediterranean Diet in Children up to 3 Years of Age

Nutrients. 2022 Apr 16;14(8):1664. doi: 10.3390/nu14081664.


The first years of life represent a window of opportunity to establish proper dietary patterns and to maintain them over time. Our aim was to describe the diet of a cohort of Spanish children, from 2 to 36 months, and to identify the components that could influence the quality of the diet at 24 and 36 months of age. This was a longitudinal prospective study analyzing information from administered questionnaires about general characteristics and food frequency consumption in 97 full-term babies. At 2-3 months of age, only 53.6% of infants were observed to be breastfed. The intake of animal foodstuffs from 12 to 36 months was higher than national recommendations, and the contrary was true for fruits and vegetables. The intake of vitamin D was below European Food Safety Authority recommendations. Moreover, energy intake at 6 months was inversely associated with Mediterranean Diet Score (MDS) at 24 months, whereas vegetables intake was positively associated with MDS at 36 months. These results could be useful in the creation of future guidelines focused on the promotion of breastfeeding and healthy early-life food habits.

Keywords: Mediterranean diet; breastfeeding; complementary feeding; infant diet; weaning.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Breast Feeding
  • Diet
  • Diet, Mediterranean*
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Nutritional Physiological Phenomena
  • Prospective Studies