Nutritional Needs of Children
Nutrition and health professionals have long acknowledged the value of setting up healthy nutrition habits during childhood and early adolescence.
This is significant because diet and exercise patterns taken up during these major developmental years lay down the life-long habits that can stand for the difference between health and frailty in later years.
Majority of children grow about two inches and put on about four to seven pounds for every year. Between the ages of six to 12, youngsters will shoot up an average of one to two feet and nearly double in weight. Nutrition recommendations for children are planned to encourage top growth and development
A wide selection of foods loaded in essential nutrients are important for growing bodies and shape the basis of these recommendations. As pointed out in the Food Guide Pyramid, these foods include carbohydrate-rich grains and fruits and vegetables needed to provide minerals, vitamins, fiber and energy fundamental to good health. Sufficient quantities of dairy products, fish, lean meats, eggs, poultry, nuts, and dry beans also offer nutrients that add to proper growth and development.
While children often have specific food likes and dislikes, nutritionists and dietitians advice that parents make accessible a broad variety of foods and support sampling new foods in small amounts without pushing the issue. In this way, children will often come to accept and enjoy new foods.
Shifting Nutritional Needs of Women
Taking a multivitamin supplement is a must for women. This supplement should have folic acid that is required primarily during a woman’s reproductive years. In addition, women should take 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day.
A woman who is planning on having a family must make sure that her body is prepared for a healthy pregnancy. Research recommends that folic acid supplementation in the weeks heading to and following conception may help avert neural tube defects.
Folic acid rich foods include oranges, green leafy vegetables, liver, whole grain bread, and cereals. Women who are somewhat anemic should fortify their iron levels even before planning pregnancy with foods such as lean meats, raisins, and beans. During pregnancy, the daily requirement of iron multiplies from 15 milligrams to 30 milligrams. Potatoes, citrus fruits, and broccoli are also suggested to enhance iron absorption.
Mid-life nutrition for women requires them to reduce their daily calories by 100-200 calories. Calcium intake should be higher—1,000 mg/day for adults ages 19-50. After 51, it’s 1,200 mg/day. And, postmenopausal women who opt for not taking estrogen require 1,500 mg/day.Eating whole grains, fruits and vegetables also gives older women the fiber needed to avoid constipation and diverticulosis in their later years.
Special Nutritional Needs of the Elderly
The young elderly (65-74) and the older elderly (75 and over) may have 10-20 active years ahead of them. The main goal for these years is to promote health in nutrition. Since the elderly are more likely to have chronic illnesses, their nutritional requirements must be jam-packed with vitamins, proteins and minerals distributed in small volumes.
- Fiber – Constipation and bowel problems in the elderly are largely due to a decreased gut activity. To aid this, the consumption of fruits, cereal foods, and vegetables should be promoted.
- Fat – Saturated fat (animal fats) intake must be lessened if not totally eliminated for cardiovascular health. This is also advised even for elderly people who are fit and well.
- Zinc – A must for a healthy immune system and to facilitate wound healing (as in pressure ulcers). Rich sources of zinc: meat, shellfish and wholemeal bread.
- Calcium – Sufficient intakes of calcium help to slow down calcium loss from bones, which begins at the age of 30 and speeds up significantly in later years. Calcium-rich foods (milk, dairy foods) should be taken daily.
- Iron – The use of certain drugs and loss of blood may cause anemia in this age group. Iron intake must be met by eating red meat as well as non-meat sources (dried fruit, fortified cereals, and green leafy vegetables)