Nestlé Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS)

The Nestlé Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) is the largest and most comprehensive dietary intake study focused on infants, toddlers and preschoolers in the U.S. Started in 2002 by Gerber and now conducted by the Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne, Switzerland, FITS has surveyed nearly 10,000 parents and caregivers over three studies to gain a better understanding of the food and nutrient intakes and related lifestyle behaviors among young children.

Feeding Infants & Toddlers Study

FITS 2016 Highlights

Areas for improvement

Dietary Iron
Nearly 1 in 5 (18%) infants 6-12 months fall short on dietary iron.
Vegetable
More than 1/4 of children 6 to 48 months don't eat a single serving of vegetables on a given day.
Sodium
3/4 (75%) of 1-3 year olds consume too much sodium.
Sweets
Almost all (90%) 2-3 year olds consume sweet foods or sweetened beverages on a given day.
Milk
About 20% of 1-3 year olds don't drink cow's milk on a given day.

Successes

Breastfeeding
More mothers breastfeed, and for a longer duration compared to FITS 2002.
Whole Grains
More than 1/2 (59%) of 2-3 year olds eat whole grains on a given day.
Fruit
Fewer infants are drink 100% fruit juice since FITS 2008, with the same likelihood of eating fruit.

Snacks
About 25% of little one’s daily calories come from snacking occasions.

More infants than ever in the 21st century are not getting enough iron1-3

Iron is a critical nutrient to support learning ability and brain development

% of 6-12 month olds falling short on
recommended iron intake*

6-12 month olds falling short on recommended iron intake

Between 2002 and 2016, the dietary iron gap in 6-12 month olds has increased while iron-fortified cereal usage has decreased.

Iron Gap

10.5% more 6-12 month olds fall short on recommended iron intake

Cereal Gap

30% fewer 6-12 month olds eat infant cereal (82% consuming in 2002, 52% in 2016)

Only about 5% of 6-12 month olds eat beef, an excellent source of iron

Latest FITS Publications

Apple
Food Consumption

Food Consumption Patterns of Infants and Toddlers: Findings from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (2016)

Room for Improvement Remains in Food Consumption Patterns of Young Children Aged 2-4 Years (FITS 2016)

WIC and non-WIC Infants and Children Differ in Usage of Some WIC-Provided Foods (FITS 2016)

Beverage Consumption Patterns among Infants and Young Children (0–47.9 Months): Data from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study, 2016
Nutrition
Nutrient and Caloric Intakes

Total Usual Nutrient Intakes of U.S. Children (< 48 mo): Findings from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2016

Usual Nutrient Intakes from the Diets of US Children by WIC Participation and Income: Findings from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2016

challenges
Opportunities & Challenges

Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2016: Findings and Thoughts on the Third Data Cycle

The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2016: Moving Forward
research
Data Collection & Methodology

The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2016: Study Design and Methods

FITS Publication Archives

Apple
Food Consumption

Importance of dietary sources of iron in infants and toddlers: Lessons from the FITS Study (FITS 2008)
Location influences snacking behavior of US infants, toddlers and preschool children (FITS 2008)
Food Consumption Patterns of Infants and Toddlers: Where Are We Now? (FITS 2008)
Food Consumption Patterns of Young Preschoolers: Are They Starting Off on the Right Path? (FITS 2008)
Improving the Diets of the Young: Considerations for Intervention (FITS 2002)
Average Portions of Foods Commonly Eaten by Infants and Toddlers in the United States (FITS 2002)
Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS): The Types of Foods Fed to Hispanic Infants and Toddlers (FITS 2002)
Maternal and Child Characteristics Associated with Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices (FITS 2002)
Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS): What Foods Are Infants and Toddlers Eating? (FITS 2002)
Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS): Improvements Needed in Meeting Infant Feeding Recommendations (FITS 2002)
Toddlers’ Transition to Table Foods: Impact on Nutrient Intakes and Food Patterns (FITS 2002)
Nutrient Intakes and Food Choices of Infants and Toddlers Participating in WIC (FITS 2002)

Dietary Patterns
Dietary Patterns, Meals & Snacks

Early development of dietary patterns: transitions in the contribution of food groups to total energy (FITS 2008)

Cross-sectional analysis of eating patterns and snacking in the US (FITS 2008)

Improving the Eating Patterns of Infants and Toddlers (FITS 2002)

Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS): Meal and Snack Intakes of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Infants and Toddlers (FITS 2002)

Nutrient Intakes and Food Patterns of Toddlers’ Lunches and Snacks: Influence of Location (FITS 2002)

Transitions in Infants’ and Toddlers’ Beverage Patterns (FITS 2002)

Meal and Snack Patterns of Infants and Toddlers (FITS 2002)
Nutrition
Nutrient and Caloric Intakes

Nutrient Intakes of US Infants, Toddlers, and Preschoolers Meet or Exceed Dietary Reference Intakes (FITS 2008)
Sources of Energy and Nutrients in the Diets of Infants and Toddlers (FITS 2002)
Current Electrolyte Intakes of Infants and Toddlers (FITS 2002)
Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS): Do Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Contribute to Nutrient Adequacy or Excess among US Infants and Toddlers? (FITS 2002)
Relationship between Portion Size and Energy Intake among Infants and Toddlers: Evidence of Self-Regulation (FITS 2002)
Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS): Characteristics and Usual Nutrient Intake of Hispanic and Non-Hispanic Infants and Toddlers (FITS 2002)
Nutrient Intakes of Infants and Toddlers (FITS 2002)

challenges
Opportunities & Challenges

Parents’ Perceptions and Adherence to Children’s Diet and Activity Recommendations (FITS 2008)

Picky eating: Associations with child eating characteristics and food intake

New Findings from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study: Data to Inform Action (FITS 2008)

Opportunities to Assess Parental, Cultural, and Environmental Influences on Dietary Behaviors and Obesity Prevention among Young Children (FITS 2008)

The Fitness of FITS (FITS 2008)

Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study 2008: Progress, Continuing Concerns, and Implications (FITS 2008)

New Findings from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS 2002)

FITS: New Insights and Lessons Learned (FITS 2002)

Developmental Milestones and Self-Feeding Behaviors in Infants and Toddlers (FITS 2002)

Prevalence of Picky Eaters among Infants and Toddlers and Their Caregivers’ Decisions about Offering a New Food (FITS 2002)
research
Data Collection & Methodology

The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study 2008: Study Design and Methods (FITS 2008)

Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS): Development of the FITS Survey in Comparison to Other Dietary Survey Methods (FITS 2002)

Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS): Overview of the Study Design (FITS 2002)


*EAR for iron is 6.9 mg/day; includes iron from food, beverages, and dietary supplements

  1. FITS 2002: Fox MK., et al., JADA 2004.
  2. FITS 2008: Butte N., et al. and Siega-Riz AM., et al., JADA 2010.
  3. FITS 2016: Bailey R., et al. and Roess A., et al., J of Nutr 2018.

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