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* Vitamin D Lacks in Infants


* Sleep May Affect GI Function


* New International Food Information Council Survey Shows COVID-19 Effects on Food Habits



Most US infants fail to meet vitamin D intake guidelines, and the proportion of babies who do get the minimum recommended amount of vitamin D (400 IU per day) has not changed much in recent years, a new study suggests.


Researchers examined dietary recall data for infants 0 to 11 months old over 4 recent National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cycles: 2009-2010, 2011-2012, 2013-2014, and 2015-2016. Overall, the proportion of babies who got the minimum amount of vitamin D recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) was low, at 24% during the 2009-2010 survey cycle and 28% during the 2015-2016 cycle. During the final survey cycle, only 21% of breastfeeding infants and 35% of nonbreastfeeding babies met the AAP vitamin D intake guidelines of 200 to 400 IU daily.


The AAP in 2008 issued vitamin D intake guidelines for infants younger than 1 year that advised babies being fed formula to consume at least 1 L of formula daily, which under federal regulations contains at least 400 IU of vitamin D.


For breastfed babies, the AAP guidelines advise that infants get the recommended amounts of vitaminD either via drops for babies or supplements.


Overall, the proportion of infants meeting vitamin D recommendations during the study period was 27%. It was higher for formula-fed babies than for breastfed infants, at 31% and 21%, respectively.


Socioeconomic status appeared to have an impact on outcomes for breastfeeding infants, with only 15% of babies below the federal poverty level meeting AAP vitamin D intake recommendations compared with 32% of babies in families with income at least 200% of the federal poverty level. In adjusted analyses, however, differences observed by family income were no longer significant.


White infants appeared less likely to meet vitamin D guidelines than babies from other racial and ethnic groups. Overall, 23% of white babies got enough vitamin D, compared with 33% of non-Hispanic black infants, 28 of Hispanic babies, and 38% of other racial and ethnic groups.


One limitation of the study is that NHANES relies on a single 24-hour period for dietary recall, and this might not reflect infants' usual vitamin D intake. The researchers also did not look at whether babies who were breastfed received vitamin D drops or if mothers took vitamin D supplements (which slightly affects the vitamin D content of mothers milk)- they only looked at maternal food intake.


Even so, the methods for determining vitamin D intake remained consistent throughout the study period and generally confirmwhat other studies have found-that too few babies are getting enough vitamin D, and the proportion of infants who do get enough is not increasing. This just does not make good sense for their present or future health, and we need to do better. The Canadians seem to be doing a better job, from surveys in Canada.


SOURCE: Simon AE, Ahrens KA. Adherence to Vitamin D Intake Guidelines in the United States. Pediatrics June 2020;145(6):e20193574; DOI:



According to the International Food Information Council's 2020 Food & Health Survey, 85% of Americans have made at least some change in the food they eat or how they prepare it because of the coronavirus pandemic.


The results are derived from an online survey of 1011 Americans aged 18 to 80 years, conducted on April 8 to April 16, 2020. Results were weighted by age, education, gender, race/ethnicity, and region to ensure that they are reflective of the American population, as seen in the 2019 Current Population Survey.


First, COVID-19 is having sweeping impacts on eating, preparing, and purchasing of food. COVID-19 has upended almost every aspect of our daily lives, not the least of which includes our eating and food-purchasing habits. Among the 85% of consumer who have made any change, the biggest- far and away-is that 60% of Americans report cooking at home more. Respondents also say they are snacking more (32%), washing fresh produce more often (30%), and thinking about food more than usual (27%).


Second, the pandemic has also fundamentally altered our notions of food safety.


Worries about the coronavirus are also reflected in big changes to consumers' views of food safety. While overall confidence in the safety of the US food supply is virtually unchanged (67% in 2020 vs 68% in 2019), food handling and preparation related to coronavirus risk are now at the top of the list of food safety concerns. COVID-19 was the top food safety issue for 24% of Americans, a debut that corresponded with a decline in concerns since 2019 over the top 4 food safety issues apart from COVID-19: foodborne illness, chemicals in food, carcinogens in food, and pesticides/pesticide residues.


Third are issues experienced by trapped parents and kids and their homebound habits relating to food. It will come as no surprise to many readers that parents with children younger than 18 years-many of whom are stuck at home juggling Zoom meetings and antsy kids-have seen their food concerns and routines disrupted by COVID-19: 43% of them are concerned about in-person grocery shopping versus 33% of those without children younger than 18 years, and 41% of parents are snacking more as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,


Fourth, attitudes toward dieting have shifted a lot over the past year, although this may be just due to the usual ebb and flow of these fads, and not directly to COVID. In 2020, 43% say they have followed a specific diet or eating pattern within the past year, an increase from 38% in 2019, with intermittent fasting (10%), clean eating (9%), ketogenic or high-fat (8%), and low-carbohydrate (7%) diets being the most popular. The top motivators for new diets are losing weight (47%), feeling better and having more energy (40%), improving physical appearance (39%), protecting long-term health and preventing future health concerns (37%), and preventing weight gain (36%). When looking at specific foods, consumption of protein from plant sources, plant-based meat, and dairy alternatives increased in the past year, with 28% eating more protein from plant sources, 24% eating more plant-based dairy, and 17% eating more plant-based meat alternatives than in 2019. Those following a specific diet or eating pattern are huge drivers of these numbers: 41% of those consumers say they increased consumption of protein from plant sources (vs 18% of those not following a diet), and 28% say they eat more plant-based meat alternatives (vs only 9%). Fewer Americans are avoiding sugars this year, although it is still a very common practice: 74% are trying to avoid or limit sugars, compared to 80% in 2019.


Finally, considerable changes in attitudes about food and health are evident since a decade ago, no doubt in part due to COVID. More than half (54%) of all consumers say the healthfulness of their food choices matters more now than it did in 2010. For many, the aging process itself may play a large role in this transition, because 63% of people 50 years or older indicate that healthfulness has more of an impact now, compared to 46% of those younger than 50 years who say the same. In addition, 58% of respondents say their overall health is given more emphasis on their food decisions now than a decade ago, whereas 53% say their weight has more emphasis on those decisions than it did in 2010. However, when asked what they saw as the biggest changes in an average American's diet since 2010, most people (24%) cited greater amounts of fast food and eating out, followed by more processed food (20%). Lagging far behind were healthier food options (including organic) at 12%, more sugar in diets (11%), overeating/unhealthy portion sizes (10%), and more dieting (10%) compared with 29% of nonparents.


Aligned with an increased emphasis on healthfulness comes rising awareness of theDietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) over the past 10 years. In 2010, only 23% of consumers said they were familiar with the guidelines. This year, that number stands at 41%, a dramatic increase. Alas, that does not mean that this many people are actually following all of the recommendations, however. Unfortunately, there is a huge gap in awareness by health and education status: 49% in excellent/very good health know at least a fair amount about the DGA versus only 29% who are in poorer health; 47% of consumerswith a college degree know at least a fair amount about the DGA versus 37% with less than a college degree.


Source: International Food Information Council 2020 Food and Health Survey