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Authors

  1. Kleinman, Ronald E. MD
  2. Coletta, Frances A. PhD, RD

Abstract

Although recommendations for introducing solid foods to infants and young children have changed significantly since the beginning of the 20th century, vegetable consumption recommendations have always been an important part of the child-feeding repertoire. In 1958, the first report of the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) Committee on Nutrition stated that developmental maturity of the gut and neuromuscular system, growth rate, and activity level were good indicators for determining when to introduce solid foods to infants than age. All 7 editions of the AAP Pediatric Nutrition Handbook use an evidence-based model for recommendations concerning the complementary feeding of infants and young children. The model includes developmental readiness principles, feeding practices, and age-appropriate nutrient requirements. Dietary patterns and nutrient consumption among infants and young children have been analyzed using data from the 2002 and 2008 Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS). The 2008 FITS also collected information concerning participation in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Since 1972, WIC has been a cost-effective means of improving the diets and health of infants and young children from low-income families. Data from the 2008 FITS showed that many young children did not consume recommended amounts of fiber or potassium, and vegetable and fruit intakes continued to be lower than recommended. Low vegetable consumption and limited variety were also seen among WIC participants and nonparticipants aged 6 months to 4 years prior to changes in the WIC food package. Increasing children's consumption of all vegetables should continue to be a focus going forward.