Federal Government Will Issue Dietary Guidelines--for Infants

By Susan Jones | March 6, 2013 | 11:53 AM EST

(AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The federal government is tapping experts for its "B-24 Project." It may sound like a new jet fighter, but in this case, "B-24" pertains to nutrition advice for infants and toddlers up to 24 months old.

The project will produce "unified federal dietary guidance for children from birth to 24 months based on the best available science," said Kevin Concannon, the Agriculture Department's Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Services.

Concannon noted that current federal dietary recommendations are designed for people two years and older, and therefore, the B-24 project "will fill an important gap."

Government officials from USDA and the Health and Human Services Department recently gathered with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the World Health Organization, and other health groups and universities to examine existing literature and make recommendations for additional public and private research -- some of it to be funded with taxpayer dollars, no doubt.

"With nearly one third of children in America at risk for preventable diseases like diabetes and heart disease due to being overweight or obese, we know that access to proper nutrition early in life can help set the stage for healthier dietary and lifestyle habits and future success in school," Concannon said in a USDA blog.

"Every day, nutritionists and health-related staff across the country advise mothers and mothers-to-be about what to eat, what to feed their children, how to successfully breastfeed, and the importance of appropriate physical activity for infants and toddlers. Creating nutrition guidance specifically tailored to the needs of infants and toddlers will help better ensure that parents and caregivers are empowered with the information they need to help their children reach optimal growth, development and health on their journey to adulthood."

The Obama administration already has revamped the National School Lunch Program to include healthy foods, and it recently announced plans to require healthy snack options in school vending machines.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life, with solid foods to be gradually introduced at six months.