Dietary Fat and Toddlers

If you're worried that your toddler is overweight or concerned that he might become obese at some time in the future (perhaps because obesity runs in your family), you might already be thinking about cutting down on the amount of dietary fat he consumes. However, you should think again.

Your toddler actually needs fat in his diet to ensure proper growth and brain development, and those first few years of life are particularly crucial. Dietary fat serves a number of other important functions as well, including providing energy and promoting wound healing. It also helps your child absorb certain vitamins.

How much dietary fat does your toddler need?

During his first 2 years, about half of his calories should come from fat. Then after age 2 years, you can modify his diet gradually until his dietary fat makes up about one third of his caloric intake.

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Caring for Your Baby and Young Child: Birth to Age 5
(Copyright © 2009 American Academy of Pediatrics)