What is NutriSTEP®?

  • A questionnaire originally developed in 2008 for preschoolers, 3-5 years of age
  • Toddler NutriSTEP® was developed in 2012 for children 18-35 months of age
  • Both questionnaires are fast and simple ways to assess eating habits and identify nutrition problems in children.
  • Both the original NutriSTEP® and the Toddler NutriSTEP® are parent-administered 17-item nutrition screening questionnaires.
  • Valid and reliable questionnaires that can differentiate between toddlers and preschoolers who are at nutrition risk and those who are not.
  • Questionnaires that include topics such as children’s food and nutrient intake, physical growth, developmental and physical capabilities, physical activity, food security and the feeding environment.
  • The NutriSTEP® questionnaires have risk scoring for each question. Completion of all 17 questions generates a score indicating the potential for nutrition-related problems.
  • Questionnaires that can be used in a variety of settings as well as for nutrition surveillance.
  • Listen to our June 2009 and November 2010 web casts to learn more.
  • The original NutriSTEP® for preschoolers is available in 8 languages: English, French, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese, Punjabi, Spanish, Tamil, and Vietnamese.
  • The revised (2015) supporting educational booklet, How to Build a Healthy Preschooler is available in English and French.
  • The original supporting educational booklet, How to Build a Healthy Preschooler, is available in simplified and traditional Chinese, Punjabi and Vietnamese.
  • The Toddler NutriSTEP® is available in English, French, and Spanish.
  • The revised (2015) supporting educational booklet, How to Build a Healthy Toddler is available in English and French.

The Toddler NutriSTEP® and NutriSTEP® questionnaires are copyright protected and can only be obtained by acquiring a license and downloading them from acquire a license.

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Why is NutriSTEP® important?

  • Approximately <10->17% of the population of young children aged 18 months to 5 years will be identified as high nutritional risk.
  • Poor nutrition in young children can lead to:
    1. Growth problems such as failure to thrive and obesity
    2. Anemia
    3. Poor eating habits that become lifelong
    4. Lack of school readiness
    5. Inability to learn at school
  • The NutriSTEP® questionnaires provide:
    1. Early identification of potential nutrition problems
    2. Parent referral to community resources
    3. Parental nutrition education
    4. Support in evaluating preschool nutrition interventions
    5. A means of monitoring community child nutrition programs
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Who can use the NutriSTEP® questionnaires and resources?

  • The Toddler NutriSTEP® questionnaire is intended to be used by community professionals dealing with toddlers, 18-35 months of age.
  • The original NutriSTEP® questionnaire is intended to be used by community professionals dealing with preschoolers, 3 to 5 years of age.
  • The child’s parent or primary caregiver - the person who is most knowledgeable about the child’s eating and other health habits - should complete either the Toddler NutriSTEP® or the original NutriSTEP® questionnaire for preschoolers.
  • The NutriSTEP® program can be used with existing child health and development provincial programs.
  • The NutriSTEP® program can be used to reach at risk toddlers and preschoolers and their families in locations such as child and parent programs, parent education programs, school readiness programs, and primary health care settings such as physicians’ offices and community health centres.
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What does the NutriSTEP® program include?

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NutriSTEP® Background and History

  • NutriSTEP® stands for Nutrition Screening Tool for Every Preschooler. The original NutriSTEP®, released in 2008, is a valid and reliable nutrition risk screening questionnaire for preschoolers that was developed in both English and French and then translated into 6 additional languages commonly used in Canada. The original NutriSTEP® questionnaire was developed, refined and validated in both English and French with multicultural and geographically diverse groups of parents and preschoolers across Ontario and Canada. The development and finalization of the original NutriSTEP® for preschoolers took over 10 years and involved almost 1500 preschoolers and their parents, and more than 50 multisectoral partners. Focus groups, child health screening fairs, research interviews, and child nutrition assessments were conducted in English and French with numerous cultural groups including First Nations, East Asian, Persian, South American, and Italian.
  • The Toddler NutriSTEP® was adapted from the original NutriSTEP® for preschoolers. The Toddler NutriSTEP® was tested for reliability and validity by the same process used for the original NutriSTEP® with more than 500 toddlers and their parents. Toddler NutriSTEP® was developed in English and then translated into French and released in 2012. A Spanish version was released in 2013.
  • The NutriSTEP® program has been led by dietitian researchers from the University of Guelph and the Sudbury & District Health Unit.
  • The original NutriSTEP® development was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR), The Ontario Public Health Research, Education and Development (PHRED) Program, City of Greater Sudbury, Ontario Early Years Challenge Fund, Health Canada (Population Health Fund), The Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, the Ontario Ministry of Health Promotion.
  • The Toddler NutriSTEP® development was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. Implementation research was funded by the Danone Institute of Canada.
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* Disclaimer: The views expressed in the materials associated with NutriSTEP® do not necessarily represent the official policies of the above funders.