FIRST ‘CENSUS’ OF ONE-TO-THREES REVEALS THE SECRET LIFE OF BRITISH TODDLERS
Our “Little One-ders” Are Getting What They Want But Not Always What They Need
British toddlers spend longer staring at a screen each day than they do eating their meals and more time in a car than at a children’s playground, according to a first of its kind ‘Census’ giving a snapshot into the lives of our one to three years olds, released today (9 August 2011).
The ‘Census’ was commissioned by growingupmilkinfo.com, a website for parents seeking information about toddler nutrition and the role of Growing Up Milk within a healthy, balanced diet.
Busy Social & Cultural Lives
Results reveal our pre-schoolers are a busy lot, with their social development a top priority for parents. The average toddler has a circle of friends to rival their mum’s, spends three hours a day at nursery and 30 minutes visiting family. On top of that, they devote 23 minutes a day to using a computer or iPad, 40 minutes a day to watching TV, 26 minutes on messy play and 25 minutes listening to stories.
Toddlers are also quids-in when it comes to lifestyle, with the average toddler having nearly a four-figure sum spent annually on their activities/classes, almost £180 on toys and boasting a wardrobe of designer clothes. However, even though, “pound for pound”, they need more energy and nutrients than their parents, the survey results suggest that toddlers’ diets aren’t getting the same attention as other aspects of their lives – despite nutrition’s important role in helping growth and development. The ‘Census’ gives some fresh perspective on “the state of the toddler nation’s plates”, with eight out of ten parents questioned unaware that toddlers have different nutritional needs to the rest of the family.
Toddlers’ diets are ‘more burgers than broccoli’
Fast and convenience foods play a significant role in the diet. Typically, today’s toddler is more likely to have eaten a burger than broccoli. 60 per cent have been to a fast food restaurant, according to the new figures and the vast majority of toddlers questioned had tried chips (86%), pizza (80%) and chicken nuggets (68%). This echoes previous data from the Infant and Toddler Forum, which revealed 29 per cent of toddlers eat a takeaway once a week and that 81% of toddlers are regularly given ready-made adults foods likely to be high in fat, sugar and salt.
Report co-author Amanda Ursell comments, “This age group is poorly defined, with conflicting data and little attention is paid to toddlers’ unique nutritional needs. One to three year olds go through a period of such extraordinary growth and development that we should be thinking of them not just as toddlers but as ‘Little One-ders’.”
“Although their lifestyles can rival our own, toddlers are not mini-adults. Their bodies, brains and bones are developing at an amazing rate and they need the right nutrition to fuel this,” she says