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Open AccessArticle

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

Department of Pediatrics, San Paolo Hospital, University of Milan, 20142 Milan, Italy
Department of Translational Medical Science, University of Naples “Federico II”, 80131 Naples, Italy
CEINGE Advanced Biotechnologies, University of Naples “Federico II”, 80131 Naples, Italy
Task Force for Microbiome Studies, University of Naples “Federico II”, 80131 Naples, Italy
European Laboratory for the Investigation of Food-Induced Diseases (ELFID), University of Naples “Federico II”, 80131 Naples, Italy
Direction Medical, KraftHeinz Italia Via Migliara 45, 04100 Latina, Italy
Department of Sciences for Health Promotion and Mother and Child Care “G. D’Alessandro”, University of Palermo, 90133 Palermo, Italy
NICU Fondazione IRCCS Ca’ Granda Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico, University of Milan, 20122 Milano, Italy
Representatives of the Apulian Federazione Italiana Medici Pediatri (FIMP), Via S. Antonio 73, 70051 Barletta, Italy
Mucosal Immunology and Microbiota Unit, Humanitas Clinical and Research Center—IRCCS, Via Manzoni 56, 20089 Rozzano, Italy
Pediatric Primary Care, National Pediatric Health Care System, 20100 Milan, Italy
Italian Association of Dietitians, 00100 Rome, Italy
Pediatric Diabetes and Metabolic Disorders, Department of Surgery, Dentistry, Paediatrics and Gynaecology, University of Verona, 37129 Verona, Italy
Interdisciplinary Department of Medicine–Pediatric Section, University of Bari Aldo Moro, 70121 Bari, Italy
Ospedale Pediatrico Giovanni XXIII, via Amendola 276, 70125 Bari, Italy
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Nutrients 2019, 11(5), 1129;
Received: 7 March 2019 / Revised: 5 May 2019 / Accepted: 17 May 2019 / Published: 21 May 2019
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. View Full-Text
Keywords: epidemiology; descriptive observational study; survey; nutrient intake; dietary pattern; food record; obesity; health; infants; toddlers epidemiology; descriptive observational study; survey; nutrient intake; dietary pattern; food record; obesity; health; infants; toddlers
MDPI and ACS Style

Verduci, E.; Banderali, G.; Montanari, C.; Berni Canani, R.; Cimmino Caserta, L.; Corsello, G.; Mosca, F.; Piazzolla, R.; Rescigno, M.; Terracciano, L.; Troiano, E.; Crosa, M.; Maffeis, C.; Francavilla, R. Childhood Dietary Intake in Italy: The Epidemiological “MY FOOD DIARY” Survey. Nutrients 2019, 11, 1129.

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