Poor Dietary Habits Begin Around Age 2

In the October 2003 online issue of InteliHealth Health News comes a study that implies that kid's dietary habits may start as early as age 2. The "Feeding Infants & Toddlers Study", commissioned by baby-food manufacturer Gerber Products Company indicated that, "By 24 months, habits appear startlingly similar to a number of the more serious American eating patterns." The article observed that the latest research has found that approximately one in every five Americans is thought to be obese, double the rate in the mid-1980s.

The study was carried out by telephone interviews in 2002 that questioned parents or primary caregivers what their children ages 4 months to 2 years ate on that specific day. Up to a third of the kids under 2 ate no fruits or vegetables, based on the survey. For those that did have a vegetable, French fries were the most typical choice for kids 15 months and older. Additionally, 30 to 40 percent of the kids 15 months or older had a sweet fruit drink every day, and about 10 % had soda.

Chicago-area dietitian, Jodie Shield, who has published 2 books on child nutrition, noted "If kids are having juice and soft drinks at this early age, it will likely be very, very difficult to introduce other types of foods for them later on".

The article explained that children aged 1 to 2 years need about 950 calories per day, but discovered that the typical consumption 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.

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