Clinical Edge

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Intake of Sugars and Saturated Fats in US Children

Am J Clin Nutrit; ePub 2018 Sep 20; Wang, et al

The consumption of sugars, fats, and sodium exceeds recommended guidelines before many US children reach school age, and this can influence future eating patterns, a recent study found. Cross-sectional data from the NHANES 2009-2014 were used to estimate: mean intake of sugars, saturated fats, and sodium; the proportion exceeding recommended limits; and the leading sources of these nutrients in the diets of 3,345 US children aged <5 years. Researchers found:

  • Nonbreastfeeding children in this study group consumed a mean percent of total energy of 10.1% from added sugars (ASs), 13.9% from free sugars, 12.8% from saturated fats, and 1,804 mg Na.
  • Sugary beverages contributed to 6.7%, with consumption lower among higher-income children.
  • AS and sodium intake rose rapidly from infancy to age 1-<2 years and gradually thereafter.
  • Saturated fat intake was highest in infancy.
  • Intake exceeded recommended limits for ASs, free sugars, saturated fats, and sodium for 45%, 63%, 72%, and 67% of all children, respectively.


Wang Y, Guglielmo D, Welsh JA. Consumption of sugars, saturated fat, and sodium among US children from infancy through preschool age, NHANES 2009–2014. [Published online ahead of print September 20, 2018]. Am J Clin Nutrit. doi:10.1093/ajcn/nqy168.