Life cycle nutrition from infancy to adolescence
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Life Cycle Nutrition: From Infancy to Adolescence. Chapter 15. Too few fruits, vegetables and whole grains Too many processed foods high in added sugar, salt, and processed fats Gets worse among adolescents. What are Children Eating in the US?. From NHANES, 2001-2002.

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Life Cycle Nutrition: From Infancy to Adolescence

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Life cycle nutrition from infancy to adolescence

Life Cycle Nutrition:From Infancy to Adolescence

Chapter 15

What are children eating in the us

Too few fruits, vegetables and whole grains

Too many processed foods high in added sugar, salt, and processed fats

Gets worse among adolescents

What are Children Eating in the US?

From NHANES, 2001-2002

Now vs 25 years ago kids eat

Now vs. 25 years ago, kids eat…

  • Less milk, fewer vegetables, eggs, and grains

  • More cheese, fruit juices, and sweetened beverages

  • More meals away from home

  • Larger portion sizes

  • More snacks

Diet related disease conditions in children

Diet-Related Disease Conditions in Children

  • The same effects as poor diet in adults

  • High calorie, heavily processed, nutrient-poor diets combined with sedentary lifestyle

    • Obesity

    • Elevated serum cholesterol

    • Elevated blood glucose

    • Type 2 diabetes

    • Heart disease

    • Hypertension

Rates of overweight in children and adolescents

Rates of Overweight in Children and Adolescents

Mental health impact of overweight and obesity on kids

Mental Health Impact of Overweight and Obesity on Kids

  • Social and psychological challenges

  • Discrimination:

    • Ridicule and teasing by peers

    • Prejudicial treatment by adults

  • Poor self-image, low self-esteem

    • Rejection

    • Social isolation

    • Contributes to continued weight issues

Bmi for age charts

BMI-for-age Charts

Nutrient needs


Total amount increases with age

Fat (%kcal)

Infants: 40-55%

1-3 yrs: 30-40%

4-18 yrs: 25-35%

Adults: 20-35%


Same percentage as adults (45-65%)

Fiber: 14g per 1000 kcals


Infants: soak 6-8 diapers daily

1-3: 1.3 L/d

4-8: 1.7 L/d

Needs increase with illness, high environmental temp, or PA


Variety of meats, legumes, eggs, whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and dairy (if appropriate)

Deficiency risks: Calcium, Iron, Vit. A & D

Nutrient Needs

Introducing solid foods

Introducing Solid Foods

  • Infants: GI tract still developing over course of first 2 years

  • Early introduction of solids can increase risk of food allergy/sensitivity

  • Recommended to wait until at least 4 months (6 is best)

  • For introduction of common food allergens, waiting until at least 12 months is recommended

    • Cow’s milk, wheat, eggs, corn, soy

    • Tree nuts, seafood, peanuts

Food allergies and intolerances

Food Allergies and Intolerances

  • More common in infants than adults

    • Immature GI tract allows intact proteins to be absorbed

  • Exposure to allergen (food protein) for first time causes immune system to produce antibodies to that allergen

  • Allergy symptoms include coughing/wheezing, rash, eczema, hives, cramps, aches, vomiting, asthma, diarrhea, constipation, lethargy, sinus or ear infections, change in personality/behavior, rhinitis/runny or stuffy nose

    • Range from mild to life-threatening

  • Allergy symptoms may be immediate or take up to 3 days to occur

  • Montior for symptoms after each food is introduced

    • Introduce only one at a time!

    • Wait 3-5 days before adding a new one

  • Food intolerances: problems during digestion

    • Not related to antibody production or proteins in food

    • Example: lactose intolerance

Feeding children

Feeding Children

  • Development of eating habits begins in childhood

    • Caregivers are important guides and role models

  • Division of responsibilities:

    • Caregivers decide “what and when”

    • Children decide “whether and how much”

      • Ellyn Satter, MS RD LCSW (, author of Child of Mine and Your Child’s Weight: Helping Without Harming

Meals snacks

Meals & Snacks

  • Good rule of thumb to offer something every 2-3 hours

    • Small stomachs, high energy needs

  • Routines and consistent patterns help children to feel secure

    • Children may not tell you that they are hungry

  • Sit down with kids and eat what they are eating

  • Breakfast: very important!

    • Helping maintain healthy body weight

    • Improves performance at school

    • Any breakfast is better than none, but emphasizing balance among macronutrients is best

Television childhood obesity

TV exposes kids to food industry marketing

Takes the place of physical activity

Kids who watch 4 or more hours/day are 40% more likely to be overweight than those who watch an hour or less/day

Computer/video games also contribute to inactivity

Television & Childhood Obesity

Saturday Morning Food Ads

Weight management in children adolescents

Weight Management in Children & Adolescents

  • Increase activity

  • Model healthy eating

    • Food choices

    • Eating habits

    • Mindfulness

  • Provide healthy choices in the home

  • Be very cautious if reducing intake is recommended

    • Avoid denying or restricting foods

    • Avoid any focus on appearance; focus rather on health

    • Instead, replace empty-calorie foods in home with nutrient-dense choices

Nutrition in adolescence

Nutrition in Adolescence

  • Puberty and continued organ system development

    • Changes in body composition

    • Growth rates and nutritional requirements for boys and girls diverge

    • Total needs greater than at any other time of life!

  • Adolescent growth spurt: 18-24 month period of rapid growth

    • Girls: 10-13 years of age

    • Boys: 12-15 years of age

  • Nutritional status both during and leading up to this time affects growth and sexual maturation

Dietary concerns with adolescents teens

Dietary Concerns with Adolescents & Teens

  • Influence of caregivers wanes, influence of peers increases

  • Fruits and vegetables likely to be lacking

    • French fries: most commonly consumed vegetable

  • Empty-calorie snack foods

    • Snacks are important to meet increased caloric needs, so having healthy choices around is an important strategy

  • Strategies for caregivers

    • Prepare nutrient-dense meals in the home

    • Engage kids in the growing and preparation of foods

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