Food, water, energy, and macronutrient intake of non-breastfed infants and young children (0–3 years)



The French Nutri-Bébé 2013 study aimed to assess the nutritional intake of infants and young children in comparison with the recommendations of the 2013 European Food Safety Authority (EFSA).


This cross-sectional study enrolled a random sample of families selected according to the Quota sampling method. A 3-day dietary record was conducted and supervised by two face-to-face interviews. All foods and beverages consumed were qualitatively and quantitatively reported in a diary, and their composition calculated using a food composition database.


A total of 1035 non-breastfed children were included. Formula was abandoned early, amounting to approximately 50% of the total food intake at 7 months in 50% of infants and 22% at 1 year. A similar trend was observed for specific complementary foods. After 1 year, 50% of children consumed cow’s milk, which was semi-skimmed in 88% of cases. Drinking water intake was low. Protein intake reached 1.4 times the average requirements before 3 months, 2 times at 8–9 months, and > 4 times at 30–35 months. Fat intake was below the EFSA adequate intake (AI) in > 90% of children. Alpha-linolenic acid intake was equal to or greater than the AI in all infants < 3 months, 85% of children at 6 months, 34% at 12–17 months, and 8% >24 months. Regardless of age, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake was less than the AI.


Strong discrepancies are observed between the actual and recommended intake in young, non-breastfed children namely, a high-protein intake, and a low fat intake, especially DHA.

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Adequate intake


Alpha-linolenic acid


Agence Nationale de Sécurité sanitaire de l’alimentation, de l’Environnement et du travail (National Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health and Safety)


Arachidonic acid


Average requirements


Body mass index


Computer-assisted personal interviews


Centre d’Informations sur la Qualité des Aliments (Centre for Information on Food Quality)


Cow’s milk


Centre de Recherche pour l’Étude et l’Observation des Conditions de Vie (Research Centre for the Study and Observation of Living Conditions)


Docosahexaenoic acid


Dietary reference values


European Food Safety Authority


Follow-on formula


Infant formula


Linoleic acid


Long chain polyunsaturated fatty acid


Secteur Français des Aliments de l’Enfance (French Organisation for Children’s Foods)


Total energy intake


Young child formula


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We are grateful to the families who participated in the survey and to all of the people who contributed to the survey, especially in its design and supervision. We also want to acknowledge the dedication and commitment of the interviewers, as well as of Yves Emery and his team at TNS Sofres.


The survey has been fully funded to the SOFRES and the CREDOC by the Secteur Français des Aliments de l’Enfance (SFAE), 9 boulevard Malesherbes, Paris-75008, France.

Author information




JPC was involved in the study design, analysis and interpretation of data, and writing of the paper, having primary responsibility for the final content. GT conceived the study, participated in its design and coordination, collected the data, performed the statistical analysis, and helped to draft the manuscript. CF contributed to draft the manuscript. US and DT reviewed and provided comments on drafts of the manuscript. All authors approved the final manuscript.

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jean-Pierre Chouraqui.

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Conflict of interest

JPC received an honorarium from the CREDOC as a medical and scientific consultant. GT is employed by the CREDOC, funded by the SFAE. CF received an honorarium from the SFAE. DT and US declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

According to French law, no ethical approval was required for this study. It was conducted by an official polling institute, TNS Sofres, in full agreement with the guidelines laid down in the Declaration of Helsinki and the French data protection act, and the current research did not involve invasive procedures or therapeutic intervention. The study was registered on (NCT03327415).

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Chouraqui, J., Tavoularis, G., Simeoni, U. et al. Food, water, energy, and macronutrient intake of non-breastfed infants and young children (0–3 years). Eur J Nutr 59, 67–80 (2020).

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  • Nutrition survey
  • Infant
  • Young child
  • Water intake
  • Macronutrient intake