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Feeding Infants & 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.

FITS 2016 Highlights

Areas for Improvement

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

Grains

More than 1/2 (59%) of 2-3 year olds eat whole grains on a given day

Juice

Fewer infants are drink 100% fruit juice since FITS 2008, with the same likelihood of eating fruit

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

Iron is a critical nutrient to support learning ability and brain development. More infants than ever in the 21st century are not getting enough iron1-3

Percentage of 6-12 month olds falling short on recommended iron intake between 2002 and 2016*
18% of 6-12 month olds in 2016 falling short on iron intake*EAR for iron is 6.9 mg/day; includes iron from food, beverages, and dietary supplements
Between 2002 and 2016, the dietary iron gap in 6-12 month olds has increased while iron-fortified cereal usage has decreased.
10.5%+ Increase in Iron Gap

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

30% Decrease in cereal usage

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

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.

FITS Resources

keyboard_arrow_up FITS 2016 Publications (External links)

Food Consumption

Dietary Meals, Patterns and Snacks

Nutrient & Caloric Intakes

Opportunities & Challenges

Data Collection & Methodology