Importance Of Nutrition in Children & Ways To Maintain | Nutrition

Nutrition in children

Why is nutrition so important in children?

Babies and children are less likely to suffer from malnutrition compared to adults. There are many reasons for this poor nutrition in children.

  • Low nutrient stores: Newborns have low fat and protein stores. The younger your child, the less energy he/she will have. This means that they can only starve for a short time.
  • High nutritional demands for growth: The nutritional needs of children from an early age are very high. This is due to its rapid growth during this period. By the time your baby is 4 months old, she is used to a 30% increase in her nutrient intake. At one year of age, it drops to 5%.
  • Rapid development in the nervous system: During the last four months of pregnancy and the first two years of life, your baby’s brain grows rapidly. During this time, connections are formed between nerve cells in the brain. Good nutrition is important to ensure that this happens correctly.
  • Illness: Nutrition in children may be compromised after an episode of illness or surgery. The energy needs of the body increase, so the intake of food and nutrients must be increased.

The long-term importance of nutrition in children


Growth and nutrition are closely related to each other. The average height of a population reflects its nutritional status. In the developed world, the population is at an all-time high. In underdeveloped countries, there are fewer children due to malnutrition and lack of energy for proper growth.

Disease in adult life

There is evidence that malnutrition leads to a limit increase when a mother is pregnant. It is associated with an increase in diseases such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and subsequent lung disease.


Australia is involved in the esophagus epidemic around the world, which affects children of all ages. Overweight children are more likely to become obese adults, and an overweight child with obese parents is more than 70 per cent more likely to become obese in adolescence. Obesity occurs when the total number of calories consumed by children through metabolic processes (such as playing, sweating, and breathing). The crude measure of obesity is determined by the body mass index (BMI). Determined by:

BMI = body weight (in kg) / height (in height, in meters) squared

In adults, the cut-off values ​​of BMI, which are internationally accepted as definitions of overweight and balance (25 kg / m2 and 30 kg / m2), are based on an increased risk of morbidity and mortality, without such a definition based on results for children. Definitions of children and adolescents are generally based on data sets collected from other groups of children of a certain age.

The use of BMI is less appropriate for infants, children, and adolescents because of different rates of weight and height increase during development. It is common for children to gain weight rapidly and their BMI increases rapidly during adolescence. For this reason, it is important to compare the BMI calculations with the age and sex percentage tables. For example, while 65% of children have a BMI, 65% of children of the same sex and age have a lower BMI. A child older than 95 is considered overweight because 95% of the population has a lower BMI than he or she. A child with a BMI of 50 per cent is closer to the population average. A child under the age of 5 is considered underweight because 95% of the population has a high BMI. Boys also have a higher BMI because they have a larger build or greater muscle mass, not excess fat.

As a trend, instead of focusing on individual measures, it is also important to look at BMI values ​​over a period of time. The same values ​​taken from the context give the wrong impression of your child’s growth. Prevention is better than cure.

Once your baby is overweight or behind, losing weight can be very difficult. There are undesirable effects on your child’s body, both physically and mentally. Obese children are more likely to develop high blood sugar and high cholesterol levels. It can lead to diseases like diabetes and heart and vascular problems. It can also have an impact on your child’s self-esteem and body image – these outstanding kids can be stereotyped and abused or subjected to bullying at school. 

Healthy eating for children 

  • Protein: Choose seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds.
  • Fruits Encourage your child to eat a variety of fresh, canned, frozen, or dried fruits instead of fruit juices: If your child drinks juice, make sure it is 100 per cent juice with no added sugar and limit her servings. Look for fruit that is canned, that is light, or packed in its own juice, which means it is low in sugar. Keep in mind that one cup equals one cup of nuts. When eaten in excess, dried fruits provide additional calories.
  • Vegetables: Serve with a variety of fresh, canned, frozen, or dried vegetables. The goal is to offer a variety of vegetables each week, including dark green, red, and orange, beans and peas, carbohydrates, and more. When choosing canned or frozen vegetables, look for low-sodium options.
  • Cereals: Choose whole grains like whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, or brown or wild rice. Limit refined grains like white bread, pasta, and rice.
  • Milk: Encourage your child to eat and drink low-fat or low-fat dairy products, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, or fortified soy beverages.
  • Try to limit your child’s calories
  • Added sugar Limit added sugars: Natural sugars, like fruits and milk, do not add sugar. Examples of added sugars are brown sugar, corn sweetener, corn syrup, honey, and others.
  • Saturated and trans fats: Limit saturated fats, mainly fats from animals like red meat, poultry, and whole dairy products. Look for ways to replace saturated fat with vegetable and nut oils, which provide essential fatty acids and vitamin E. Healthy fats are also found naturally in olives, walnuts, avocados, and shellfish. Limit trans fats by avoiding foods that contain partially hydrogenated oil.

If your child has specific concerns about your nutrition in children or diet, speak with your paediatrician or registered dietitian. 

Ages 2 to 3: Daily guidelines for girls and boys

  • Calories: 1,000-1,400, depending on growth and activity level
  • Protein: 2-4 ounces
  • Fruits: 1-1.5 cups
  • Vegetables: 1-1.5 cups
  • Grains: 3-5 ounces
  • Dairy: 2 cups

Ages 4 to 8: Daily guidelines for girls 

  • Calories: 1,200-1,800, depending on growth and activity level
  • Protein: 3-5 ounces
  • Fruits: 1-1.5 cups
  • Vegetables: 1.5-2.5 cups
  • Grains: 4-6 ounces
  • Dairy: 2.5 cups

Ages 4 to 8: Daily guidelines for boys

  • Calories: 1,200-2,000, depending on growth and activity level
  • Protein: 3-5.5 ounces
  • Fruits: 1-2 cups
  • Vegetables: 1.5-2.5 cups
  • Grains: 4-6 ounces
  • Dairy: 2.5 cups

Ages 9 to 13: Daily guidelines for girls 

  • Calories: 1,400-2,200, depending on growth and activity level
  • Protein: 4-6 ounces
  • Fruits: 1.5-2 cups
  • Vegetables: 1.5-3 cups
  • Grains: 5-7 ounces
  • Dairy: 3 cups

Ages 9 to 13: Daily guidelines for boys 

  • Calories: 1,600-2,600, depending on growth and activity level
  • Protein: 5-6.5 ounces
  • Fruits: 1.5-2 cups
  • Vegetables: 2-3.5 cups
  • Grains: 5-9 ounces
  • Dairy: 3 cups

Ages 14 to 18: Daily guidelines for girls

  • Calories: 1,800-2,400, depending on growth and activity level
  • Protein: 5-6.5 ounces
  • Fruits: 1.5-2 cups
  • Vegetables: 2.5-3 cups
  • Grains: 6-8 ounces
  • Dairy: 3 cups

Ages 14 to 18: Daily guidelines for boys

  • Calories: 2,000-3,200, depending on growth and activity level
  • Protein: 5.5-7 ounces
  • Fruits: 2-2.5 cups
  • Vegetables: 2.5-4 cups
  • Grains: 6-10 ounces
  • Dairy: 3 cups 

Ways to Maintain good nutrition

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) has published recommended dietary guidelines for Australian children. These guidelines apply to the general population of healthy children from birth to eighteen years of age.

Encourage and support breastfeeding:

There is no doubt that breast milk is the best food for babies. In developing countries where infection and contamination are high in the environment, breastfeeding improves survival. Breastfeeding also helps foster a closer relationship between mother and baby. It also provides an advantage in the long-term development of the brain and its related structures, especially in premature babies. The most common nutrients in breast milk are long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids.

Children and adolescents often need adequate nutritious food to grow and develop:

  • Young children should monitor their growth (weight and height) daily.
  • Physical activity is important for children and teens.
  • Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods:
  • Children and adolescents should be encouraged to:
  • Eat lots of vegetables, legumes, and fruits
  • Eat lots of whole grains (including bread, rice, pasta, and noodles)
  • Include lean meats, fish, poultry, and/or substitutes
  • Add milk, yogurt, cheese, and/or substitutes

Low-fat milk is not suitable for children under 2 years of age due to its high energy needs, but low-fat varieties should be encouraged for older children and adolescents.

  • Choose water as a drink
  • Alcohol is not recommended for children.
  • Limit your intake of saturated fat and moderate fat
  • Low-fat diets are bad and many nutrients cannot be properly absorbed without them
  • Choose a low salt diet
  • Consume only foods that contain added sugars and sugars in moderation

Physical activity

Physical activity is an important part of daily life for children and adolescents. It plays an important role in physical growth and skill range development. It provides a mechanism to balance energy intake and energy production and reduce the incidence of balance is. In girls, physical activity is related to bone density during adolescence. The physical activity guidelines for Australians make the following recommendations:

Children need to be active in as many ways as possible every day. Most children should get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity, at least every day. If possible, children should enjoy vigorous and regular exercise to improve their health and fitness. 

Strategies to make nutrition more enjoyable for children

Ideas for snacks and lunch boxes:

As part of a healthy diet, children should have 3 main meals and 2-3 snacks a day. Snacks are an important part of the daily diet for children. They should be delicious, easy to prepare, and packed with nutrients. Ideal appetizers:

  • Slices of bread/fruit buns
  • Slices of fruits/vegetables
  • A small handful of crackers with cheese, fruits, or vegetables
  • A small cup of popcorn/nuts
  • Pot of skim yogurt
  • Homemade/low-fat muffins
  • Drinks at school
  • For lunch box

Fill with a variety of healthy foods. Add lots of fresh fruits, vegetables, and bread or cookies. Include low-fat protein foods like meats, fish, dairy products, or eggs. It can be used in a variety of bread and rolls such as toll meal, multigrain, high fiber white, bagels, pocket, focaccia, Turkish, and flatbreads. Margarine spread should be used in moderation. The sandwiches can be cut into different sizes and shapes to be novel. There are many fillings according to the child’s taste: fine beef or chicken with lettuce, tomatoes, avocados, etc.

The child needs to participate in choosing her own food from a variety of healthy options. Nutrition in children who participate in their own food choices is more likely to follow good eating habits.

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