Feeding practices of Italian children 8-36 months old

M. P. Francescato, C. Zalateo, G. Tonini, S. Nordio, B. De Bernard

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The energy and nutrient intakes of 8-, 18- and 36-month-old infants in an Italian community was studied by the means of a 7-day dietary record. A longitudinal study, which included 41 children was also performed through the same interval of life. The total number of children varies from 192 subjects of 8 months to 148 subjects of 36 months (15-20% of the population in that age group). The registration method, computer assisted, set up by some of the authors, adopts a special computation algorithm, and is based upon a dietetic diary to be compiled in real time. Intake data are recorded without weighing the foods, while the portion, the amount of food taken by each subject, is used as the unit of measure. The mean daily energy intake for the infants was similar to the RDA. The ratio between the macronutrients was characterized by a high protein and fat, but low carbohydrate intake; 15-17% of energy derived from protein, 33-38% of energy derived from fats and 46-50% from carbohydrates. As the diet of the family presents the same characteristics, it appears that the weaned infant's diet obeys the family feeding habits. Daily intake of sodium was high in the diet of infants 18- and 36-months-old indicating that salt was added generously to the food. Calcium and phosphorus intakes were high in the food of 8-month-old children, while iron was rather low in the diet of older children (18- and 36-month-old children). The data show that the diet of weaned children is rapidly influenced by the feeding habits of families and that the diet shows the characteristics of privileged countries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-281
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Food Science


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