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बुधवार, 5 अक्तूबर 2011

Food For The growing Years...

Food For The growing Years...

During the first few years of life,it is vital to meet a child's nutritional needs in order to ensure proper growth and to establish a lifelong of healthy eating.Eating a meal should be both healthy and enjoyable.Between the ages 2 to 20 the human body changes continuously.Muscles grow stronger,weight can increase.The most striking changes take place during puberty,which occurs between the ages of 10 to 15 in girls and slightly later-between the ages of 12 -19 in boys.

Children need energy for all the growing years.Almost 1,300 calories per day for a 2 year old.1,700 calories for a 5 year old,2,200 calories for a 16 year old girl,and 2,800 calories for a 16 year old boy..The amount of food that a child requires varies according to height,build,gender and activity level.

 As children are growing and developing...bones, teeth, muscles etc, they need more nutritious food that is proportionate to their weight. Food consumed by children should contain proper level of calcium, iron, zinc, vitamin B,C and Vitamin A. It should mainly consist of:

  • Low fat
  • Non-fat milk
  • Decreased intake of whole milk and egg
  • Increased snacking.
Nutrient Needs


The energy needs of a child are determined on the basis of basal metabolism, rate of growth, and activity. Dietary energy must be sufficient to ensure growth and spare protein from being used for energy, without being excessive that it results in obesity. Energy intakes of healthy, growing children of the same age and sex vary depending mainly on their activity level.


The need for protein per kilogram of body weight decreases from approximately 1.2 g in early childhood to 1g in childhood. Children who are most likely to be at risk for inadequate protein intake are those who have multiple food allergies or those who have limited food selections because of fad diets, behavioral problems or limited access to food.

3....Minerals and Vitamins     

Children between the age group of 1 and 3 are at high risk of iron deficiency (anemia) . The rapid growth period of infancy is marked by an increase in both hemoglobin and total iron mass. In addition, the child's diet may not be rich in iron-containing foods. For this age group, calcium is needed for adequate mineralization and maintenance of growing bone. 

Actual needs depend on individual absorption rates and dietary factors, such as quantities of protein, vitamin D, and phosphorus. Calcium retention in children between 2 and 8 years of age totals approximately 100 mg /day. Children need two to four times calcium per kilogram more than adults. As milk and other dairy products are primary sources of calcium, children who consume none or limited amounts of these foods are at risk of calcium deficiency.


Consumption of too much dietary fat leads to excessive calorie consumption and weight gain..So as per the recommendations total fat intake should not exceed 30% of calories and saturated fat should account for no more than 10% of total calories. In addition, cholesterol intake should not exceed 300 mg per day.

The value of Dietary fats.....

Fats are probably the most misunderstood nutrients.Although everyone should avoid excess fat,we all need a certain amount for important body functions.Several vitamins (A,D,E and K) can be absorbed only in the presence of fat,and fats are necessary for the production of other body chemicals,including the hormones that transform boys boys and girls into men and women.


With the growing age..the fiber intake should be increased..Children should consume Fiber..Their age +5 grams of fiber...

  Vitamin D is needed for calcium absorption and for deposition of calcium in the bones. This nutrient can also be made available from the action of sunlight on subcutaneous tissues. 

  Zinc is essential for growth. Deficiency results in growth failure, poor appetite, decreased taste acuity and poor wound healing. The best sources of zinc are meat and seafood. 

Iron Deficiency....

Iron is an essential mineral for normal growth and development for a child.There are 2 types of iron...
a)..Heme:..Easily absorbed by humans..
b)..Non heme iron:..Which is poorly absorbed.

Foods that contain heme iron include meat,eggs,fish,poultry,seafood..While the breakfast cereals,legumes(beans),grains,seeds,nuts,dried fruits,and dark green leafy vegetables contain the non heme iron.Children should have a variety of iron containing foods in their diet.In addition,the consumption of Vitamin C rich foods improves the absorption of dietary iron...

Building Bone:...

Calcium.... is important for forming strong.healthy bones during adolescence and preventing osteoporosis later in life.Youths 10 to 16 years old need 3 to 4 milk product servings a day-the equivalent of 2 cups of milk and 2 slices of cheese or 3-4 cups of yogurt/curd every day.

Snacking And Fast Food:

Teenagers often prefer snacks loaded with fat,sugar,and salt:Potato Chips,French fries.pizzas etc.These are high in sodium and strike a poor balance between calories and nutrition.Encourage children to choose food with high in Vitamins,iron,calcium.

It is important for parents who are concerned that their children eat too few vegetables or too many junk foods to take a look at their own eating habits and reevaluate the example they are setting for their kids.

Balance And Variety...

Children need a wide variety of foods..Carbohydrates-breads,cereals,fruits,vegetables-must make up the major part of the diet..protein foods can include meat,fish,milk,soy products and combination of grains and legumes(beans).Milk is an important source of calories,minerals and vitamins.Children 4 to 9 years old should have 2 to 3 milk product servings every day.

A growing Epidemic...Obesity....

There is a big problem of becoming children over weight or obese..The consequences of obesity:high blood pressure,high cholesterol,type 2 diabetes,some cancers,sleeping disorders and orthopedic complications.There is an increased  risk of  heart attacks in teenagers..Overweight children tend to become overweight adults.So now parents must foster positive elements such as healthy encouraging kids to consume more fruits,vegetables,whole grains avoid foods high in saturated fats for children over 2,encouraging kids to consume more fruits,vegetables,and whole grains...At least 60 minutes of physical activity every day..

Over weight children tend to become overweight adults.Parents must foster positive elements,such as healthy eating,positive body image,active lifestyle early in a child's life.The best approach to control weight in obese youngsters is serving smaller portions and encouraging regular vigorous exercise....

In the next doc file we will see the necessary food elements for the children.....The good and bad food habits...

1...Foods Heal Foods Harm...
2...Ebbeling CB, Feldman HA, Osganian SK, Chomitz VR, Ellenbogen SJ, Ludwig DS. Effects of decreasing sugar–sweetened beverage consumption on body weight in adolescents: a randomized, controlled pilot study.
3...Pereira MA, Kartashov AI, Ebbeling CB, et al. Fast–food habits, weight gain, and insulin resistance
4..Ludwig DS, Peterson KE, Gortmaker SL. Relation between consumption of sugar–sweetened drinks and childhood obesity: a prospective, observational analysis
5...Willett W. Nutritional epidemiology.
6...Willett WC. Dietary fat plays a major role in obesity

DrAmita Kulkarni Purohit

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