Nestlé Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS)

Feeding Infants & Toddlers Study

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.

FITS Press Release

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

FITS 2016 Publications

Publication Archive

*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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