The Australian feeding infants and toddlers study (OzFITS) 2021: Study design, methods and sample description

Najma A. Moumin, Rebecca K. Golley, Chelsea E. Mauch, Maria Makrides, Tim J. Green, Merryn J. Netting

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


(1) Background: Caregiver feeding practices during the first two years of a child’s life influence nutrition, growth, and development, as well as long term taste preferences and dietary patterns. Suboptimal feeding practices lead to poorer health outcomes, such as obesity, that persist into adulthood. Although the importance of early life nutrition is well-established, there are no Australia-wide surveys of dietary intakes of children under two years of age. The 2021 Australian Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (OzFITS) aims to fill this gap. This paper describes the methods and study sample of OzFITS 2021. (2) Methods: OzFITS 2021 is a cross-sectional study of children aged 0 to 23.9 months of age and their caregiver across Australia. Data were collected between April 2020 and April 2021. A telephone-based survey was completed with a caregiver to obtain information on child and caregiver characteristics and feeding practices. For exclusively breastfed infants, the number of breastfeeds in a 24 h period was reported. Dietary intakes for mixed fed children were estimated using a one-day food record, with 30% of caregivers completing a second food record on a non-consecutive day. (3) Results: We enrolled 1140 caregiver and child dyads. Of those eligible to complete a food record, 853 (87%) completed the food record. Compared to the Australian population, caregivers were more likely to be university-educated (>75%), married or in a de facto relationship (94%), and have a household income >$100,000/y (60%). (4) Conclusions: OzFITS 2021 is the first national study to examine food and nutrient intake in Australian children aged under 2 years. The study will provide information on breastfeeding rates and duration, use of breast milk substitutes, and timing of solid food introduction. Dietary intake data will allow the comparison of core food groups and discretionary food intake to Australian guidelines and estimate the prevalence of inadequate intake of key nutrients, like iron. Healthcare practitioners and policymakers can use the study findings as a source of evidence to inform the next iteration of infant feeding guidelines.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4524
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Dec 2021


  • Australian feeding infants and toddlers study
  • Complementary feeding
  • Feeding practices
  • Nutrient intakes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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