People love to give nutrition tips!

Everyone, at some time or other, has either given, or gotten a nutrition tip. Perhaps you have accepted nutrition tips from your best friend who advised you to go on the diet she was given by her nutritionist!

Now there are quite a few factors to consider before you embark on  a certain nutrition plan, and one of the most important is age.

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Let’s take a look at how age affects nutrition needs, starting with infants, because we all want our kids to have good nutrition.

Nutrition in infants and children

Requirements for nutrients are higher on a per–kilogram basis during infancy and childhood than at any other developmental stage. This is due to  the rapid cell division occurring during growth.

– The average 2-year-old needs about 1000 calories and 13 grams of protein per day.

– By age 6, that child will need about 1600 calories and 19 grams of protein per day.

An important nutrition tip to keep in mind for children, is that it is very important to keep the food fun. Focus on supplying them with a variety of fruits and vegetables in a fun way.

If you’re one of those lucky parents with a child that loves fruit and vegetables, that’s great!

Otherwise you’re going to have to put some effort into making your dishes look attractive. Chop up different colored veggies in different shapes, and try applying different salsas and toppings. Don’t give up!

Studies show it can take 15 to 20 exposures before a child will try something new.

Nutrition in adolescence

nutrition tips_2The physiological changes that occur during adolescence affect nutrient needs.

The proportion of energy from carbohydrate, fat and protein recommended for adolescents is similar to that of adults, but the total amount of energy needed by teenagers exceeds adult needs.

Adolescent girls need 2,100 to 2,400 calories per day, whereas boys require about 2,200 to 3150 calories per day.

Both groups need at least 0.8 grams protein per kilogram by about age 19, but since boys have greater muscle mass, they require more total protein than girls.

Importance of B and D vitamins

The requirement for B vitamins, which are involved in energy metabolism, is much higher in adolescence than in childhood.There is frequently inadequate intakes of riboflavin and vitamin D.

Riboflavin is frequently low in teens’ diets, especially in those of girls, possibly due to low milk intake.

Important nutrition tips: 

– Encourage kids to keep away from soft drinks, and replace them with water and milk instead. If your teenager doesn’t want to drink milk “like a Baby”, you can offer a wide variety of flavored yogurts and cheeses instead.

– Try to spend family time outdoors as much as possible, so you and your children can synthesize some bone-healthy vitamin D in your skin.

Iron-deficiency anemia is common in adolescence

The RDA is set at 11 mg per day for boys (this is greater than the 8 mg RDA for adult men) and 15 mg per day for girls ages 14 to 18. The best source for Iron is animal proteins.

If vegetarian, include plenty of beans and cheeses.

Important nutrition tip: provide an iron and folic acid supplement, especially to girls of child bearing age. Of course pregnant woman need special nutrient needs, and it is mandatory that she consults her doctor on these needs!

Nutrition in adults

The energy needs of adults are based on height, age, gender and activity level. Most adults require 25 to 30 calories per kg.

It is estimated that energy needs decrease by 6% between the ages of 51 and 74 years and they decline a further 6% after the age of 74 years.

It is of utmost importance for older adults to focus on nutrient dense foods, which can supply their daily requirements of vitamins and minerals, without excessive calories.

Thus, as you can see, every age has its own nutrition needs, so, one last note of advice, determine your specific needs using an online calorie calculator and only follow nutrition advice given by an expert.

Don’t follow nutrition advice given  by your friends!

Connect with Expert Hala Youssef.

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