Excessive decreases in fat intake in young children have been linked with low intakes of energy and nutrients and possible growth failure.
We evaluated nutrient intakes and growth of healthy children with different fat intakes during the first 5 y of life.
In the Special Turku Coronary Risk Factor Intervention Project (STRIP), 7-mo-old children were randomly assigned to an intervention aimed at reduced consumption of saturated fat and cholesterol (n = 540) or to a control group (n = 522). This analysis comprises data for children for whom > or = 6 of 8 possible 3-4-d food records were available (n = 730; 353 females). Children were divided according to fat intake pattern (percentage of energy) between the ages of 13 mo and 5 y into groups with continuously high fat intake (5% of children), increasing fat intake (5%), continuously low fat intake (5%), decreasing fat intake (5%), and average fat intake (80%). Children's energy and nutrient intakes and growth were then compared by analysis of variance.
Fat intake at 13 mo of age was particularly low (21% of energy) in the increasing fat intake group and in the continuously low fat intake group (22% of energy at 13 mo; 26% of energy at 5 y). Growth of children in all 5 fat intake groups, however, was not significantly different throughout the study period. Intakes of vitamins and minerals, except of vitamin D, met recommended dietary allowances in all fat intake groups.
Nutrient intakes and growth were not significantly different in children whose fat intake patterns differed between 13 mo and 5 y of age.