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Roundtable Proceedings: The Role of Innate Sweet Taste Perception in Supporting a Nutrient-Dense Diet for Toddlers, 12 to 24 Months Old

Kleinman, Ronald E. MD; Greer, Frank MD; Cowart, Beverly J. PhD; Hetherington, Marion M. DPhil; Johnson, Susan L. PhD; Keller, Kathleen L. PhD; Klurfeld, David M. PhD; Moshfegh, Alanna J. MS, RD; Murray, Robert MD, FAAP; Welsh, Jean PhD, MPH; Coletta, Frances A. PhD, RD; Marr, Liz MS, RDN, FAND

doi: 10.1097/NT.0000000000000198
Feature Article

The US Agricultural Act of 2014 stipulates that the age range for 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans expands to include from birth to 24 months. A group of pediatric nutrition researchers and practitioners met to discuss recent data and research gaps, as well as to generate research and potential public-private partnership ideas for future guidance on the feeding of young children, with a focus on 12 to 24 months old. Specific to this age range, the meeting participants analyzed cross-sectional dietary intake data and reviewed dietary guidance history, developmental feeding, policy considerations, and principles of public-private partnership. The group generated a number of research questions, emphasizing the need to investigate ways to improve acceptance of nutrient-dense foods, including vegetables. Research is needed to understand whether an innate preference for sweetness can be used strategically to help caregivers persevere in feeding less accepted nutrient-dense foods to toddlers.

Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, is the physician in chief at the Massachusetts General Hospital for Children, the chair of the Department of Pediatrics at the Massachusetts General Hospital, and the Charles Wilder Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts.

Frank Greer, MD, is a professor emeritus of pediatrics at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine in Madison.

Beverly J. Cowart, PhD, is a member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she has served on the faculty for 30 years.

Marion M. Hetherington, DPhil, is a professor of biopsychology at the University of Leeds, United Kingdom.

Susan L. Johnson, PhD, is a professor of pediatrics in the Section of Nutrition at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus and the director of the Children’s Eating Laboratory in Aurora, Colorado.

Kathleen L. Keller, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Departments of Nutritional Sciences and Food Science at the Pennsylvania State University, State College.

David M. Klurfeld, PhD, is a national program leader for human nutrition in the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville, Maryland.

Alanna J. Moshfegh, MS, RD, is the research leader of the Food Surveys Research Group at the Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center in the US Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service, Maryland.

Robert Murray, MD, FAAP, is a (retired) professor of pediatrics and human nutrition and a member of the Food Innovation Center at the Ohio State University in Columbus.

Jean Welsh, PhD, MPH, is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Emory University, and the director for the Strong4Life Initiative at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Georgia.

Frances A. Coletta, PhD, RD, is principal of Coletta Consulting, Burnsville, North Carolina.

Liz Marr, MS, RDN, FAND, is principal, Liz Marr & Associates, LLC, Longmont, Colorado.

These proceedings are the outcome of a roundtable held in Washington, DC, on October 29–30, 2015. It was planned in part by the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, School of Medicine, and its Department of Pediatrics, Section of Nutrition, and funded by The Sugar Association. This article appears in the Nutrition Today supplement, Sweet Taste Perception and Feeding Toddlers, funded by The Sugar Association.

For full author disclosures, please see the Appendix.

Correspondence: Ronald E. Kleinman, MD, Harvard Medical School, CPZS 578, 175 Cambridge St, Boston, MA 02114 (

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