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Nutrition During School Age (6-12 Years): Growth Pattern
The school age, six to twelve years, is a latent period of growth. During this stage growth is slow and body changes occur gradually. The nutritional requirement is the same for boys and girls upto nine years after which girls out do boys and there is a change in some of the nutrient requirements for boys and girls.
1. Energy and protein
The requirements for calories and proteins increase during school age. The calorie requirements remain almost the same for girls throughout. Boys 10-12 years of age require more calories as adequate reserves are being laid for growth spurt during adolescence. The protein
requirements are slightly higher for girls than boys between 10-12 years for the approaching menarche.
In terms of visible fat the ICMR has recommended an intake of 5-6 percentage of total energy from linoliec acid. Considering this the minimum visible fat required has been estimated to be 12g / day but ICMR has suggested the desirable visible intake for school going children as 22g/day.
The 10-12 year old children require more calcium than adults to meet the demand for skeletal growth.
The iron requirements are increased as blood volume increases. Also the mean increase in body weight from second year to the twelth year in boys and tenth year in girls is 2.5 to 2.7 kg per year which is equivalent to iron requirement of 0.3mg/day. The iron requirement is further increased by the gradual rise in the haemoglobin concentration and losses. The requirement for iron in girls 10-12 years is lower than 7-9 years because the iron absorption during 10-12 yrs is more which is 5 percent whereas it is only 3 percent in 7-9 years.
Vitamin A requirements of children have been computed from the requirement figures for infants (50µg/kg) and adults (93µg/kg ) taking into account the growth rate at different ages. The RDA of vitamins A and C are same as adult RDA. The requirement for B vitamins are in proportion with the calorie requirements.
ICMR Recommended dietary allowances of school going children
Nutrients : Age 7-9 (in years), Boys Age 10-12(in years), Girls Age 10-12(in years)
Energy k.cal : 1950 2190 1970
Protein (g) : 41 54 57
Fat (g) : 25 22 22
Calcium (mg) : 400 600 600
Iron (mg) : 26 34 19
Retinol (mg) : or 600 600 600
b Carotene (mg) : 2400 2400 2400
Thiamine (mg) : 1.0 1.1 1.0
Riboflavin (mg) : 1.2 1.3 1.2
Niacin (mg) : 13 15 13
Pyridoxine (mg) : 1.6 1.6 1.6
Ascorbic acid (mg) : 40 40 40
Folic acid (mg) : 60 70 70
Vitamin B12 (mg) : 0.2-1 0.2-1 0.2-1
By school age the children establish a particular pattern of food intake. This may slightly differ from what is followed at home due to peer influence. The child may try new foods which they normally do not consume. Breakfast is a very important meal. Children are generally restless and spent very little time at the table. Skipping breakfast affects their performance level and the calorie and nutrients lost cannot be made up at any other time during the day. Menus must include dishes that are quick to eat yet nutritionally adequate. Also there should be variety in colour, texture and taste. List Below presents the recommended quantities of food to be consumed by the school going children.
Balanced diet for school going children
S.No. Food groups - Quantity gms : Age 7-9 (in years), Boys Age 10-12(in years), Girls Age 10-12(in years)
1. Cereals and millets : 270 330 270
2. Pulses : 60 60 60
3. Milk (ml) : 500 500 500
4. Roots and tubers : 100 100 100
5. Green leafy vegetables : 100 100 100
6. Other vegetables : 100 100 100
7. Fruits : 100 100 100
8. Sugar : 30 35 30
9. Fats / oils (visible) : 25 25 25
For Non veg 30g of pulse can be exchanged with 50 gm of Egs/ Meat / Chicken / Fish.
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