What you eat in your
childhood not only affects your childhood but also manifests in your later
years. Infants and toddlers should be given balanced diet containing adequate
amount of fats, proteins, carbohydrates and minerals. These are essential for
their development and growth.
In order to study the
effect of food and dietary habits on childhood obesity Sangita Sharma and
colleagues conducted a cross sectional study that was later published in
Nutrition Journal 2013. The experts
enrolled 84 infants and toddlers (45 boys and 39 girls) in Baltimore USA, aged
between 0-24 months for the purpose of study.
The aim of the study
was to collect data and inform the GLB- Growing Leaps and Bounds Program which
prevents obesity among infants and toddlers of Baltimore. The scientists
carried out a survey by 24-hours recalls among randomly chosen caregivers of
infants and toddlers.
The scientists noted
the mean daily energy intake as 677 kcal, 988 kcal, and 1,123 kcal for children
0--6 months, 7--12 months and 13--24 months, respectively. They reported that infants in the age group
of 0-6 months needed high energy from fats (48 percent) as compared to 7-12 months
(34 percent) and 13-24 months (31 percent).
The study also showed
that the mean daily intakes of infants in the age group of 0-12 months was more
than or equal to the Dietary Reference Intakes (DRI). However the toddlers in
the age group of 13-24 months received diet that was deficient of vitamin A, D
and E. DRI are "comprehensive set of nutrient reference values for healthy
populations that can be used for assessing and planning diets."
It was seen that about
33 percent of children and toddlers in the age group of 0-6 months were
breastfed and less than 3 percent of toddlers in the age group of 7-24 months
were breastfed. The conclusion drawn
from the study was that a high frequency of top food was given to infants as
compared to breastfeeding.
The experts said that
since the intake of high fat and high sugar foods (French Fries and sweetened
drinks, etc.) increased with age, so the chances of childhood obesity also
Assessing dietary intake among infants and toddlers
0--24 months of age in Baltimore, Maryland, USA; Sangita Sharma et al;
Nutrition Journal 2013.