Gaps in meeting nutrient needs in healthy toddlers

Tamás Decsi, Szimonetta Lohner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Among the potentially critical nutrients for toddlers, vitamin D, iron and long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) have recently gained special attention. A high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency was reported worldwide, affecting also small children. Iron deficiency and iron deficiency anaemia was described to be outstanding among children and prevalent in toddlers. The results of the few available studies investigating LC-PUFA intake in toddlers indicate that docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake in this age group fails to agree with current nutritional recommendations.

Key Messages: Supplementation of toddlers with vitamin D in form of drops or tablets is already part of feeding recommendations in the majority of European countries. It is the responsibility of practitioners to work on the effective implementation of these recommendations in practice. Untoward nutritional habits, but also other factors such as socioeconomic background, are predictors of iron deficiency. Toddlers should receive iron-rich complementary foods. The consumption of fish should be encouraged already with complementary feeding to improve the DHA supply to in-fants and toddlers. In Hungary, DHA levels in breast milk are spectacularly lower than median DHA levels usually reported in the literature; therefore, more awareness of the importance of DHA intake during pregnancy should be created.

Conclusion: There is a need to address potentially critical nutrients for toddlers and young children in Europe, such as vitamin D, iron and n-3 PUFA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-28
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Nutrition and Metabolism
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 7 2014


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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