Background Compared with other population subgroups, less is known about the dietary status of UAE infants and toddlers, especially how subgroups of different ages vary in their food consumption and nutrient intakes.
Objectives To assess the nutrient adequacy of the diets of UAE infants and toddlers 6 to 24 months of age.
Design Descriptive analysis of the usual nutrient intakes of infants and toddlers using 24-hour recall.
Subjects Families were recruited consecutively from the infants attending the preventive medicine department for immunization, until the number needed was attained. The study included UAE national infants (infants born to UAE national fathers) only. A sample of 1,000 infants and toddlers was selected from 2 cities, Dubai and Al Ain, in the UAE.
Results Percentage of breast feeding was found to be 49.6% in infants aged 6–11 months and 38.4% at 12–24 months. 65.6% percent of infants 6 to 11 months consumed cow’s milk or camel’s on a daily basis before the recommended age of 12 months or later. In most infants aged between 6 and 12 months had higher than the RDA levels of energy, protein, fats and carbohydrates, but surprisingly toddlers ingested less fat than RDA.
Conclusions More parents and caregivers can benefit from guidance about the introduction of developmentally appropriate, micronutrient-rich first solid foods such as iron-rich infant cereals, iron-fortified grain products, meats, soft fruits, and cooked vegetables and the importance of breastfeeding through the first year of life.