The October 27, 2003 online issue of the InteliHealth Health News reports on a study which shows that children’s eating habits can start as early as age 2. The Feeding Infants & Toddlers Study, commissioned by baby-food maker, Gerber, showed that by 24 months, dietary patterns of babies look startlingly similar to some of the problematic dietary patterns of American adults. Patterns, the article noted, that recent research has found is the cause of obesity in roughly one in five Americans. That’s double the rate of obesity in the mid-1980s.

The study was conducted by random telephone interviews in 2002 that asked parents or primary caregivers what their youngsters ages 4 months to 2 years ate on that particular day. Up to a third of the children under 2 consumed no fruits or vegetables, according to the survey. And for those who did have a vegetable, french fries were the most common selection for children 15 months and older. Additionally, 30 to 40 percent of children 15 months and up had a sugary fruit drink each day, and
about 10 percent had soda.

President of Healthy Eating for Families, Inc.

Jodie Shield, M.Ed., R.D., L.D.N.

A Chicago-area dietitian, Jodie Shield, author of Healthy Eating, Healthy Weight for Kids and Teens, noted “If kids are having soda and soft drinks at such an early age, it’s going to be very, very challenging to introduce other types of foods for them later.”

The article stated that children age 1 to 2 years require about 950 calories per day, but the study found that the median intake for that age group is 1,220 calories — an excess of nearly 30 percent. For those 7 months to 11 months old, the daily caloric surplus was about 20 percent.

If you’re concerned about your kids and their diet, there’s always something you can do about it. At the Wellness Center of New York, our nutritionists are here to help with advice and nutrition programs to help your whole family choose to live a healthier lifestyle.