In the course of human development, nutrition is a crucial element among children and adolescents. Appropriate diet varies with age due to the different dietary requirements such as growth and prevention of disease development. It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that these groups of people acquire optimum nutrition to allow proper growth, removal of risk factors predisposing chronic diseases as well as establishing early dietary habits that are likely to persist throughout life.
Childhood nutrition consideration in this regard will be school-aged children between four and12 years. The growth and transition experienced in this age characterize continued physical growth. There is less parental supervision during meals away from home, and the children can feed themselves comfortably as well as diversifying their diet to strike a balance. Teaching these children on dietary health habits is therefore essential. These children require a balanced diet that incorporates vegetables, fiber-rich foods, lean proteins as well as seafood. Calcium is crucial for healthy bone growth. Sugary beverages and foods rich in salt as well as fast foods desserts should maintain at a minimum. The optimum growth in this age increases gradually requiring calories between 1200band 1800 Kcal/day in 4-6 aged while those aged 12 should have 1400-2000 Kcal/day (Stallings, 2018) due to the degree of physical activities.
Among the adolescents aged between 13 and 18, there is a marked growth and development. There is an increase in longitudinal height to about 20%; there is doubling in body weight, peak bone mass occurs, there are increased muscles, the volume of blood expands, kidney, heart, liver, and lungs all increase in size. Such development calls for higher nutritional requirements than any other age in life. Here, sex plays a vital role in the diet. Psychological and behavioral changes occur that may predispose poor dietary habits such as meal skipping and snack consumption. Obesity, inflammatory bowel disease, type 1 diabetes among others begin at this age. Due to the developmental processes in this age, a likelihood of imbalances in energy as well as deficiencies calcium, vitamins A, E, D, and B8, Folic Acid, iron and proteins. A girl requires about 2300Kcal/d while a boy needs 2700 Kcal/d of energy (Stallings, 2018).
In the human lifecycle, children and adolescents between four and thirteen require special consideration in their nutrition needs. The group of people is highly active experiencing rapid growth and development hence require more carbohydrates and protein in their diet. Children and adolescents also require monitoring in their feeding habits since they may develop poor eating habits such as the preference of sugary and rich calorie foods.
Others may be experiencing psychological challenges that result in poor eating habits. Individuals at this stage also need a well-balanced diet to prevent the development of diseases that may adversely affect their health. Adulthood health is therefore dependent on the choices this group of people makes, which is mainly under the guidance of the parents.
- Why do children and adolescents require protein-rich food in their diet?
- Is diet among male and female adolescents similar? Explain.
Stallings, V. A. (2018). Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) 2016: Findings and Thoughts on the Third Data Cycle. The Journal of nutrition, 148(suppl_3), 1513S-1515S.
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