Food groups consumed by infants and toddlers in urban areas of China

  • Pan Yu
  • Liya Denney Nestlé Research Center
  • Yingdong Zheng
  • Gerard Vinyes-Parés
  • Kathleen C. Reidy
  • Alison L. Eldridge
  • Peiyu Wang
  • Yumei Zhang
Keywords: MING, dietary patterns, infants, toddlers, China


Background: Food consumption patterns of young children in China are not well known.

Objective: Characterised food groups consumed by infants and young children in urban China using data from the Maternal Infant Nutrition Growth (MING) study.

Design: One 24-h dietary recall was completed for 1,350 infants and young children (436 infants aged 6–11 months and 914 young children aged 12–35 months), who were recruited from maternal and child care centres in eight cities via face-to-face interviews with the primary caregiver. All foods, beverages and supplements reported were assigned to one of 64 food groups categorised into the following: milk and milk products, grains, vegetables, fruits, protein foods and desserts/sweets. The percentage of infants and young children consuming foods from specific food groups was calculated, regardless of the amount consumed.

Results: Less than half of infants consumed breast milk (47%), whereas 59% of infants consumed infant formula and 53–75% of young children consumed growing-up (fortified) milk. Rice was the number one grain food consumed after 6 months (up to 88%) and the consumption of infant cereal was low. About 50% of infants did not consume any fruits or vegetables, and 38% of young children did not consume any fruits on the day of the recall. Only 40% of all children consumed dark green leafy vegetables and even fewer consumed deep yellow vegetables. Eggs and pork were the most commonly consumed protein foods.

Conclusions: The data provide important insight for developing detailed food consumption guidelines for this population group. Mothers of infants should be encouraged to continue breastfeeding after the first 6 months. Parents should be advised to offer a wide variety of vegetables and fruits daily, particularly dark green leafy and deep yellow vegetables and colourful fruits. The consumption of fortified infant cereal should be advocated to improve the iron intake of Chinese infants.

Keywords: MING; dietary patterns; infants; young children; China 

Citation: Food & Nutrition Research 2016, 60: 30289 -    


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How to Cite
Yu P., Denney L., Zheng Y., Vinyes-Parés G., Reidy K. C., Eldridge A. L., Wang P., & Zhang Y. (2016). Food groups consumed by infants and toddlers in urban areas of China. Food & Nutrition Research, 60.
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