Background: The US Dietary Guidelines will expand in 2020 to include infants and toddlers. Understanding current dietary intakes is critical to inform policy.
Objective: The purpose of this analysis was to examine the usual total nutrient intakes from diet and supplements among US children.
Methods: The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study 2016 is a national cross-sectional study of children aged <48 mo (n = 3235): younger infants (birth to 5.9 mo), older infants (6-11.9 mo), toddlers (12-23.9 mo), younger preschoolers (24-36.9 mo), and older preschoolers (36-47.9 mo) based on the use of a 24-h dietary recall. A second 24-h recall was collected from a representative subsample (n = 799). Energy, total nutrient intake distributions, and compliance with Dietary Reference Intakes were estimated with the use of the National Cancer Institute method.
Results: Dietary supplement use was 15-23% among infants and toddlers and 35-45% among preschoolers. Dietary intakes of infants were adequate, with mean intakes exceeding Adequate Intake for all nutrients except vitamins D and E. Iron intakes fell below the Estimated Average Requirement for older infants (18%). We found that 31-33% of children aged 12-47.9 mo had low percentage of energy from total fat, and >60% of children aged 24-47.9 mo exceeded the saturated fat guidelines. The likelihood of nutrient inadequacy for many nutrients was higher for toddlers: 3.2% and 2.5% greater than the Adequate Intake for fiber and potassium and 76% and 52% less than the Estimated Average Requirement for vitamins D and E, respectively. These patterns continued through older ages. Intakes exceeded the Tolerable Upper Intake Level of sodium, retinol, and zinc across most age groups.
Conclusions: Dietary intakes of US infants are largely nutritionally adequate; concern exists over iron intakes in those aged 6-11.9 mo. For toddlers and preschoolers, high intake of sodium and low intakes of potassium, fiber, and vitamin D and, for preschoolers, excess saturated fat are of concern. Excess retinol, zinc, and folic acid was noted across most ages, especially among supplement users.