The Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS), sponsored by Nestlé Nutrition, is one of the largest U.S. surveys to investigate the eating patterns, nutritional intake and lifestyles of 3,273 infants and toddlers from birth to age 4. The study found only 30% of preschoolers met the recommendation for five daily serving of fruits and vegetables. The results showed parents need more education and help when it comes to healthy feeding of their babies and toddlers.
And this is squarely where properly formulated supplementation shines for busy, harried parents. “Ever-increasing demands on time and ‘mental bandwidth’ make it harder to ensure that we are getting the best nutrition for ourselves and for our families,” observed Tom Druke, director of VitaCholine brand development, Balchem Human Nutrition and Pharma. “Brands that understand this and strive to develop quality supplements and fortified foods and beverages based on both science and consumer insights will have the greatest success.”
Nutritional supplements for young people face an extra challenge: mom (and dad, too). Products need to pass a rigorous parental approval process. Today’s young parents are the Millennials, who are the most anti-synthetic generation to date. And they expect that the science has been—and will continue to be—performed to show inarguable efficacy for their kids.
Barring genetic/hereditary concerns, parents tend to focus more on ensuring their infants and toddlers obtain enough of the basics (vitamins, minerals, probiotics and essential fatty acids [EFAs]) to achieve a strong, healthy constitution, physically and mentally.
Critical nutrients to ensure adequate development for infants, toddler and young children include selenium, choline, vitamin K2 and omega-3 eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), among others.
For an in-depth look at the research supporting these nutrients and others for healthy child development, download the Nutrition for the first five years – digital magazine.