Childhood Dietary Intake in Italy: The Epidemiological "MY FOOD DIARY" Survey

Elvira Verduci, Giuseppe Banderali, Chiara Montanari, Roberto Berni Canani, Luigi Cimmino Caserta, Giovanni Corsello, Fabio Mosca, Ruggiero Piazzolla, Maria Rescigno, Luigi Terracciano, Ersilia Troiano, Marina Crosa, Claudio Maffeis, Ruggiero Francavilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Promoting a healthy lifestyle during the first years of life is a key strategy for controlling obesity risk in later life; having good-quality epidemiological data on eating habits of infants and toddlers can improve awareness and possibly the education given by pediatricians to parents and children. With this aim, we performed a survey about the dietary pattern of Italian children in early childhood. We described the intake of energy, macronutrients and fiber, minerals, and vitamins of 443 Italian children (range 6.4-131 months), through a three-day food record filled out by their parents and assessed by family pediatricians. The results were compared with the Italian Dietary Reference Values. The median protein intake, in g/kg per body weight, exceeded the average requirement in all age groups, and in the 12-36 month period, the intake as % of energy was outside the reference range (>15%). The majority of the children consumed quantities of simple carbohydrates (consisting of both natural sugars and free or added sugars, 82.3% of the children in the study) and saturated fats (69% of the children in the study) above the limits of the Italian Dietary Reference Values, with low intake of fiber and polyunsaturated fats. Median mineral intake, in our study, was different depending on age, while vitamin D intake was very low in all age groups. This is one of the few studies reporting on the nutrient intake of Italian children with reference to nutrition recommendations in order to identify the principal nutritional errors. The present results underline the need for healthcare policies starting from the first years of life in order to ameliorate nutrient intake during childhood, possibly impacting long-term health outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberE1129
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 21 2019


  • descriptive observational study
  • dietary pattern
  • epidemiology
  • food record
  • health
  • infants
  • nutrient intake
  • obesity
  • survey
  • toddlers

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Childhood Dietary Intake in Italy: The Epidemiological "MY FOOD DIARY" Survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this