Specific foods consumed by young children are leading to excessive intake of saturated fat and sodium in their daily diets. New research presented today at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference shows cheese, hotdogs, whole and two percent milk are among the top foods and beverages contributing to saturated fat and sodium intakes of toddlers and preschoolers.
Since milk is key in children’s diets and a top contributor of many important nutrients including protein, calcium, vitamins A, D, B12; thiamin and riboflavin, the recommendation is not for parents to limit milk but instead to offer lower fat options such as 1 percent and skim. Other sources of saturated fat should be limited in the diets of young children.
The new findings are from a recent analysis of the 2008 Nestle Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), the largest, most comprehensive dietary intake survey of parents and caregivers of young children. These insights may have implications for helping address childhood obesity among two- to four-year olds in the United States.
“The first years of a child’s life are a critical period of development. Instilling good eating habits during this time can help put a child on the path to a healthy future,” said Kathleen Reidy, DrPH, RD, and Head of Nutrition Science, Nestle Infant Nutrition. “Our findings indicate snacks are a significant portion of young children’s diets, and families can play an important role by planning nutritious snacks, especially when on-the-go.”
Data from the recent FITS analysis shows that while young children are snacking more frequently at home, snacks consumed outside the home add about 50 additional calories to their daily diets.
Drs. Reidy and Denise Deming of Nestle presented two abstracts on the recent analysis of FITS 2008 during the “Nutrition Education: Childhood Obesity Prevention I” symposium at the Experimental Biology 2014 conference.
Dr. Reidy, the lead author of an analysis examining top food sources contributing to energy (calories), saturated fat and sodium intake in the diets of toddlers (12-23 months) and preschoolers (24-47 months) found:
A few foods contribute almost 50 percent of daily calories – these include milk, cheese, bread and rolls, ready-to-eat cereals, poultry (chicken and turkey), butter, margarine or other fats.
Preschoolers are consuming nearly one-third, or about 400, of their total daily calories from solid fats and added sugars.
Top foods representing 70 percent of saturated fat intake include milk, cheese, butter, hot dogs/bacon, beef, poultry and cakes/cookies.
Top foods contributing almost 40 percent of young children’s sodium intake include milk, hot dogs and bacon, chicken/turkey, cheese, bread and rolls, crackers and ready-to-eat cereals. This intake equates to a child (24-47 months) consuming an average of 1,863 milligrams of sodium per day.
The new findings complement previously released research from FITS which showed 45 percent of toddlers and 78 percent of preschoolers consume more sodium than recommended.
Dr. Denise Deming analyzed dietary intake surveys for parents of 2,386 toddlers and preschoolers to lead an analysis on how snacking patterns among U.S. toddlers and preschoolers differ according to location. Dr. Deming found:
Many children consume milk, crackers and fresh fruits at snack time, but a variety of sweet snacks become the more popular choice when snacks are consumed away from home.
Snacks consumed away from home contributed about 50 more calories to the daily diet.
The FITS 2008 study evaluated the diets of 3,378 children from birth to four years of age. Study participants which included parents or primary caregivers of infants and young children completed twenty-four hour dietary recall surveys by telephone. For the study, parents or caregivers were allowed to define what foods children consumed as snacks and where these were consumed.
Urban Organics, a large-scale indoor aquaponics farm located in the historic Hamm’s Brewery building in East St. Paul, Minn. is now open for business. Urban Organics will offer immediate access to fresh, delicious and healthy foods for the Twin Cities community. Its first crops — hyperlocal, organic fresh greens — are on shelves at select Lunds and Byerly’s stores.
Aquaponics is the combined culture of fish and hydroponic vegetable crops in a closed-loop, recirculating aquaculture system (RAS). In aquaponics, fish provide the nutrients that plants need to grow, and the plants act as a filter to improve the water quality for the fish. Pentair Aquatic Eco-Systems, Inc. and its team of experts including engineers, horticulturists and biologists worked with Urban Organics to design, install and engineer the world-class system—one of the largest and most advanced aquaponics facilities in the nation.
“Our mission is to inspire a food system for the people, by the people,” says Fred Haberman, co-founder and CEO of Haberman and co-founder and partner in Urban Organics. “We are starting with a community-rooted, self-sustaining aquaponics facility in an area in need of economic revival — East St. Paul. But this is a test for a movement that can be scaled nationally and internationally. This level of aquaponics could change the world of farming as we know it.”
At Urban Organics, kale, Swiss chard, Italian parsley and cilantro are the first crops, and tilapia will follow in mid-summer. These fresh, organic local greens don’t depend on the weather or growing seasons and will be available year-round. The produce will be in stores within a day of when it is harvested — the freshest, most local produce available at grocery stores.
“The world’s population — and more specifically the middle class population — is growing, and with it, the demand for fish protein is quickly surpassing sustainable natural fish production. Aquaponics has the potential to help meet the demand, while reducing pressure on fish populations in the wild,” says Randall J. Hogan, Chairman and CEO of Pentair. “Our expertise in water systems and solutions allows us to re-imagine fish farming in a sustainable way that provides a real commercial option to help solve this growing food dilemma, and potentially support urban growth and renewal.”
“This remarkable transformation from stockhouse to aquaponics farm is a true testament to how these old brewery buildings can be revitalized,” says Chris Coleman, Mayor of St. Paul, Minn. “The innovation and passion of the Urban Organics team is inspiring, and I’m proud to welcome them to Saint Paul.”
Urban Organics is an indoor aquaponics facility providing hyperlocal, sustainable, year-round fish and greens to the Twin Cities. To learn more, visit urbanorganics.com and facebook/uo.saintpaul.