BACKGROUND: Many updates to young child feeding recommendations have been published over the past decade, but concurrent intake trends have not been assessed.
OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to evaluate adequacy and trends in energy and nutrient intakes of US infants and children aged 0-47.9 mo through use of Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) data from 2002, 2008, and 2016.
METHODS: FITS are cross-sectional surveys of parents/caregivers of infants and young children (FITS 2002, n = 2962; FITS 2008, n = 3276; FITS 2016, n = 3235). Dietary intakes were assessed by telephone with trained interviewers using the Nutrition Data System for Research. Mean ± SE nutrient intakes were calculated. Diet adequacy was assessed with the nutrient adequacy ratio (NAR) for 17 nutrients and the corresponding mean adequacy ratio.
RESULTS: Energy and macronutrient intakes were generally stable across surveys, but significant decreases for saturated fat and total sugars and an increase in fiber were observed among 6-11.9-mo-olds and 12-23.9-mo-olds (P-trend < 0.0001). Mean sodium intakes exceeded Adequate Intakes (AI) for all ages, whereas fiber intakes were universally below the AI. Nutrients with the lowest NAR values were vitamin D (range 0.41-0.67/1.00) and vitamin E (range 0.60-0.79/1.00 for 2008 and 2016). For iron, infants aged 6-11.9 mo had the lowest NAR values at 0.77-0.88/1.00, compared to 0.85-0.89/1.00 for 12-47.9-mo-olds. Potassium was low from 12 to 47.9 mo (NAR range 0.55-0.63/1.00 across survey years). The nutrients with the greatest decline in mean intakes were iron and vitamins D and E among 6-11.9-mo-olds, and vitamin D and potassium among 12-23.9-mo-olds in 2016 compared to 2002.
CONCLUSIONS: The diets of US infants and young children were generally adequate for most micronutrients and stable over time, but sodium intakes were too high, and nutrient gaps still existed, especially for vitamins D, E, and fiber across ages and for iron among infants.