Data needs for B-24 and beyond: NHANES data relevant for nutrition surveillance of infants and young children

Namanjeet Ahluwalia, Kirsten Herrick, Ryne Paulose-Ram, Clifford Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


The period from birth to 24 mo (B-24) is a critical phase in which nutrient requirements for growth and development are high and several transitions in food consumption practices occur. A few large-scale national studies (eg, the Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study and Infant Feeding Practices Study) offer important insights into infant feeding practices and food consumption patterns in young children in the United States. The NHANES collects comprehensive cross-sectional data on the nutrition and health of Americans including infants and toddlers. This article describes the NHANES program and data from NHANES 1999-2010 on young children that are relevant for the B-24 Project. NHANES is a nationally representative survey of the noninstitutionalized US population that combines personal interviews with standardized physical examination and measurements via mobile examination centers. Data on infant feeding practices (breastfeeding and timing of introduction and nature of complementary foods), dietary intake (two 24-h recalls), and nutrient supplements are collected. Data on demographic characteristics, anthropometric measurements, biomarkers of nutrient status, food security, and participation in federal nutrition programs are also available. Data can be accessed online, downloaded, and pooled over several survey cycles, allowing examination of infant feeding practices, food and nutrient intakes, and nutritional status of Americans <2 y old. Subgroup analyses by race-ethnicity and income status are also possible. NHANES responds to evolving data needs, as feasible, in the context of the survey design, research priorities, and funding. It offers a vehicle for potentially gathering additional data on children <2 y to address the objectives of the B-24 Project in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)747S-754S
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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