What are our young kiddos eating?

sahmri research
Researchers at SAHMRI have just published new findings from the first ever Australia-wide study on feeding practices and dietary intakes in young children. The Australian Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (OzFITS) surveyed 1140 parents with children aged 0-24 months.

In this study, researchers compared feeding practices to current guidelines, and for the first time, food and nutrient intake data are available for this important age group.


  • We found high breastfeeding rates, with over 40% of toddlers still breastfeeding. Most infants started solid foods at around 6 months, which is in line with recommendations.
  • Of concern, 9 out of 10 toddlers consumed discretionary foods. Discretionary foods are calorie dense but low in nutrition. Some examples include sweet biscuits, processed meats, confectionary, and potato chips. Because young children have high nutrient and low energy requirements, it is recommended that discretionary foods are not included in their diets.
  • Less than 1/3 of toddlers consumed the recommended serving of cereals and grains.
  • The amount of meats and alternatives eaten by the children in our study was below the recommended intake. We also found that over 90% of infants aged 6-12 months and 25% of toddlers did not consume enough iron.
  • Two out of three toddlers did not eat the minimum recommended serving of vegetables.


  • Offer less milk and breastmilk as your baby older and eats more food.
  • Iron is an important nutrient for growth and brain development. Include an iron-rich food at each meal such as red meat, iron-fortified cereals, legumes, or leafy green vegetables.
  • Eat some fruit (not too much).
  • Teach your young child to eat more vegetables they can be offered as meals or snacks.
  • Offer healthy snack foods.
  • Offer family foods from the five food groups, consistent with the Australian Dietary Guidelines.


For more information, contact a member of our team at swk@sahmri.com or on (08) 8128 4436. If you are interested in our other pregnancy research or would like to be involved in a study, scan the QR code to see what studies we are currently recruiting for!

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