Eating Habits of Young Children Get Closer Look
By Judy McBride
December 16, 1997
Beginning this month, interviewers under contract to USDA's
Agricultural Research Service
will visit the households of about 5,000 infants and young children
across the United States during the next year to gather data on the
foods they ate.
This children's survey is an extension of the 1994-96 nationwide
food survey, What We Eat In America, which covered all age groups. The
new survey will cover children between birth and 10 years of age. The
information will be combined with food intake data collected during
the larger survey from about 5,700 children up to age 18.
The combined data will provide the Environmental
Protection Agency with enough information on children's food
intakes for adequately estimating their exposure to dietary pesticide
residues, as required by federal legislation. It will also be useful
to planners of other programs that deal with children's needs, such as
food assistance and nutrition education.
The survey project director is Sharon Mickle of ARS
Surveys Research Group in Riverdale, Md.
Interviewers will collect two days of food intake data as they did
during the 1994-96 survey in more than 60 areas around country. They
will ask a parent or care-giver to provide information on foods eaten
by children under 6 years old during the previous 24 hours. For
children 6 through 9 years, the child will be interviewed with adult
help. Interviewers will visit the household again to gather the second
day's data for the same child.
The new survey responds to the 1996 Food Quality Protection Act,
which grew out of a 1993 National Academy of Sciences report. The NAS
report expressed concern that too few young children were included in
nationwide surveys to adequately estimate their exposure to pesticides
Scientific contact: Sharon Mickle, ARS
Surveys Research Group,
Nutrition Research Center at Riverdale, Md., phone (301)
734-5619, fax (301) 734-5496, email@example.com.