Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study: the types of foods fed to Hispanic infants and toddlers
Mennella, J.A.; Ziegler, P.; Briefel, R.; Novak, T.
Journal of the American Dietetic Association 106(1 Suppl 1: S96-106
ISSN/ISBN: 0002-8223 PMID: 16376634 DOI: 10.1016/j.jada.2005.09.038
To assess the prevalence of breastfeeding and formula feeding, the age of introduction to specific foods, and the types of foods and beverages consumed by Hispanic infants and toddlers compared with similarly aged non-Hispanic infants and toddlers living in the United States. Descriptive and comparative analysis of dietary recall data and responses to specific interview questions, which were collected in the 2002 Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study. Breastfeeding status, timing of introduction of complementary foods, percentage consuming foods from specific food groups, and the most frequently consumed fruits and vegetables by Hispanic and non-Hispanic children by age group (4-5 months, 6-11 months, 12-24 months). A national random sample of 371 Hispanic and 2,637 non-Hispanic infants and toddlers between the ages of 4 and 24 months. To test for differences between Hispanic and non-Hispanic children in the percentage who consumed a particular food item, we calculated percentages and standard errors in SUDAAN and 95% and 99% confidence intervals. The most frequently consumed fruits and vegetables were determined by tallying the percentage of infants and toddlers who consumed each specific fruit or vegetable on a given day. Although there were some similarities, the early flavor and food experiences of Hispanic infants were different from similarly aged non-Hispanic infants in several ways. Hispanic infants younger than 1 year of age were more likely to have ever been breastfed and those who were 4 to 5 months were more likely than non-Hispanics to be eating pureed baby foods on a daily basis. Although less likely to be eating non-infant cereals and baby food vegetables, 6- to 11-month-old Hispanics were more likely to be eating fresh fruits, fruit-flavored drinks, baby cookies, and foods such as soups, rice, and beans that are common in many Hispanic cultures. When fruits were introduced into the Hispanic child's diet, they were most commonly consumed fresh. This higher prevalence of being fed soups, rice, beans, and sweetened fruit-flavored drinks as well as tortillas was also observed among the 12- to 24-month-old toddlers. Dietetics professionals should be aware of the cultural differences in the foods fed to infants and toddlers that may contribute to the development of long-term food preferences and impact on nutrition. Understanding the factors that underlie food preferences is important if we are to develop evidence-based strategies to improve children's eating habits and lower their risks factors associated with obesity and other chronic diseases.