Children’s nutrition knowledge leadership
Our commitment: Build and Share Nutrition Knowledge from the First 1,000 Days Through to Healthy Aging
By 2016 – Share findings from FITS and KNHS research in key scientific forums.
By 2017 – Submit 10 manuscripts for peer-reviewed publications from the FITS and KNHS studies.
Our large-scale research projects in the United States and around the world are helping to develop a deeper understanding of the health impacts of dietary intake, lifestyle behaviors, and food preferences of children from infancy through adolescence.
Our Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), first conducted in 2002 and repeated in 2008, was conducted for another round of original data in 2016 with results projected to be published in a peer-reviewed journal in 2017. More than 3,000 parents and caregivers were surveyed, including participants of the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), to improve knowledge and understanding of the current eating patterns of infants and young children, and to help inform nutrition guidelines.
Some key findings from FITS include data that many infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are already falling short on recommendations for fruits, vegetables, and whole grains at this early age. These insights and data come at a critical time, as the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services are in the process of developing specific dietary guidelines for pregnant women and infants from birth to 24 months. These first-ever guidelines are scheduled to be released by 2020.
Two scientific papers related to 2008 FITS data were published in 2016, one exploring associations between picky eating, child eating characteristics, and food intake among toddlers, and the other exploring underconsumption of key food groups among 2- and 3-year-old children.
Our Kids Nutrition and Health Study (KNHS), which is focused on children 4–12 years old, published three new scientific papers in 2016 ranging from screen-based sedentary behavior to skipping lunch to snacking. Both FITS and KNHS are yielding important insights into children’s eating patterns and helping to define and improve our product formulations, consumer communications, educational programs and services, and partnerships.
Nestlé’s efforts to help guide the healthy growth and development of children starts with an evidence-based approach to designing nutritious, developmentally appropriate products for infants and toddlers. The GERBER® Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ Stage-based Milestone Symbols™ are development stages and readiness cues that help guide nutrition decisions from pregnancy to toddlers 2 years of age and older. The milestones help promote early establishment of healthy eating habits in the critical early years of life. The Start Healthy, Stay Healthy™ Stage-based Milestone Symbols™ also emphasize the importance of breastfeeding as the ideal nutrition for babies. In 2016, Gerber introduced GERBER Lil’ Beanies™, a snack made with navy beans that contains 2 grams of protein (9% daily value) per serving, 1 gram of fiber per serving, and 10% daily value of vitamin E. FITS identified that many children’s diets, specifically toddlers’, are lacking in fiber and vitamin E.