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MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2005 Jan-Feb;30(1):60-6.

Screening for infants' and toddlers' dietary quality through maternal diet.

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  • 1Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.



To investigate the relationship of mothers' dietary quality to that of their infants and toddlers in limited-income families at risk for poor health.


Secondary data analysis was conducted of dietary quality from 24-hour dietary recalls collected from 113 mother-infant/toddler pairs in limited-income families with a child at age 6 months and again at age 14 months. Dietary quality of mothers was evaluated on the basis of eating breakfast and having at least one serving of the five food groups from the Food Guide Pyramid. Diet quality of infants was determined by comparison to the Women, Infants, and Children feeding guidelines for their ages; the diet quality of the mother was then compared to that of her infant and, later, toddler.


Most mothers and their infants had poor diet quality at the first interview. By 14 months most mothers still had poor diet quality, but diet quality for the children improved such that only about one-half remained poor. Poor diet quality of mothers was useful to detect poor diet quality for her infant or toddler showing high concordance at both interviews.


A consistent marker for infants at risk for poor diet quality is having a mother who skipped breakfast and omitted fruits, vegetables, or dairy products. This could be a quick indicator to identify those at greatest risk for not following recommended guidelines in feeding their infants and toddlers.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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