Kiwi babies are being fed in line with national nutrition guidelines in some areas, such as sufficient iron and no added salt or sugar to meals, but not so well in others such as fruit and vegetable targets. New results from the Growing Up in New Zealand longitudinal study show, by nine months old, 80 per cent of study participants are being fed iron-rich foods, but half have also tried foods high in sugar, salt and saturated fat such as sweets and chips. Additionally, 67 per cent of infants don’t eat vegetables twice a day and 63 per cent don’t eat fruit twice a day.
Lead author Sarah Gerritsen says the findings show the need to continue promoting the importance of breastfeeding, introducing solids when baby is ready (around six months) and making a variety of fruits and vegetables available to children.
“We know nutrition in those first 12 months can affect a baby’s cognitive, social and physical development, so it’s important to understand what’s happening and where families may need more support or information about how best to nourish their very young children,” Dr Gerritsen says.
University of Auckland, Ministry of Social Development, November 2018