EVALUATION OF FEEDING PRACTICES OF INFANTS AND TODDLERS AT THE SPECIAL SUPPLEMENTAL NUTRITION PROGRAM FOR WOMEN, INFANTS, AND CHILDREN IN SAN MARCOS, TEXAS
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The purpose of this study was to compare feeding practices of infants and toddlers enrolled in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) in San Marcos, TX, to practices reported in the 2002 national Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) and to compare the feeding practices of Mexican American and non-Hispanic white infants and toddlers in San Marcos WIC. Researchers recruited caregivers of a child, aged 4-32 months, during WIC English and Spanish nutrition education classes. Ninety-seven caregivers completed a telephone interview during which the following information was collected: 1) 24-hour dietary recall of the infant/toddler (using Nutrition Data System for Research software); 2) health history and demographic information; and 3) infant/toddler feeding practices. Fruit and vegetable consumption was similar to national trends; 25% of toddlers did not consume any fruit, and 36% did not consume any vegetables in the day studied. The most commonly consumed vegetable was French fries. Over 75% of toddlers consumed at least one sweetened food or beverage in the day studied, and approximately 60% of toddlers consumed at least one sugar-sweetened beverage. No differences in feeding practices were detected between Mexican American and non-Hispanic white infants and toddlers. The feeding practices of infants and toddlers in San Marcos WIC can lead to poor dietary habits throughout childhood and the lifespan. Therefore, the results of this study suggest that these feeding practices may result in increased risk for obesity and its co-morbidities.