Background

There is a dearth of literature on early nutrition intake, especially during the complementary feeding period. Over-nutrition during early childhood may play an important role in the development of obesity. The aim of this study is to compare infants’ usual energy intake to current Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs).

Methods

Our sample consisted of 142 infants (45.1% males), ages 9 to <16 months old. Parents of infants were instructed that they would be contacted to collect three (2 weekdays and 1 weekend), 24-hour dietary recalls for the infants; the procedure is a modified version from the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study. We compared average total energy intake, (kcal/d) collected in our sample, to the estimated energy requirement (EER) by the DRIs. This recommendation accounted for total energy expenditure and needs for energy deposition for growth for children of 0–36 months of age.

Results

The average caloric consumption in our sample was 951.4± 225.4 kcal/d. The EER, according to the DRI recommendation, was 754.2±109.8 kcal/d, a difference that was statistically significant (p<0.0001). Infants in our study overconsumed their energy by a total of 28.4%. More than 65% of them consumed calories that was 10% over the recommended amount. Caloric intake between boys (996.8±236.7) vs. girls (915.2±210.5) was significantly difference (p=0.031).

Conclusions

Our findings illustrate the importance of assessing/evaluating early nutrition intake, specifically in relation to DRI recommendations, as total energy intake may have implications for longer-term energy balance and obesity onset.