Compare and Contrast the Nutritional Needs of Infants and Adults

Compare and Contrast the Nutritional Needs of Infants and Adults

Nutrition Module: 3. Nutritional Requirements Throughout the Lifecycle

Session 3  Nutritional Requirements Throughout the Lifecycle


In the previous two sessions, yous learnt about food, diet and nutrients also as the nutrient sources of the different nutrients.

In this session you volition learn about the nutritional needs at dissimilar stages of the lifecycle. The nutrient requirements during the four master stages of the human lifecycle vary considerably. What infants and children require is different from what adults and the elderly demand. In addition, there might be specific nutrients which a significant women and lactating mothers demand in higher amounts than adult men. Therefore, as a Health Extension Practitioner, this report session will help you to requite the appropriate messages to different population groups.

Learning Outcomes for Study Session 3

When you accept studied this session, you should be able to:

3.ane  Ascertain and employ correctly all of the key words printed in
assuming. (SAQs 3.i and three.iv)

iii.2  Describe the food needs of pregnant and breastfeeding mothers. (SAQs 3.1 and 3.ii)

3.3  Depict the nutrient requirements during infancy and childhood. (SAQs 3.2 and iii.3)

3.4  Describe the nutritional requirements of adolescents and adults. (SAQ 3.4)

three.5  Describe the nutrient needs of older people. (SAQ 3.iii)

3.1  Why it is important to know nutritional requirements

Yous need to know nutritional requirements of an individual or grouping for ii major reasons:

Prescriptive reasons: that is, to provide or dispense nutrient supplies; for example:

  • to procure food for national consumption
  • to secure food for institutional consumption
  • to run nutritional supplementation programmes.

Diagnostic reasons: mainly to identify whether a group or an private is suffering from malnutrition of any kind; for instance:

  • to evaluate nutritional intervention programmes
  • to determine whether the food available in the stock is adequate to feed the household or nation for a certain duration of time.

In order to judge nutritional requirements of individuals or groups, we demand to consider the following factors:

  • Physical activeness — whether a person is engaged in heavy concrete activity
  • The age and sex of the individual or group
  • Body size and composition — what the general build is of a person or group
  • Climate — whether a person or group is living in hot or cold climate
  • Physiological states, such equally pregnancy and lactation.

Based on these factors, nutritional requirements in the different segments of the population tin can be classified into iv groups. These correspond to dissimilar parts of the lifespan, namely (a) pregnancy and lactation, (b) infancy and childhood (c) adolescence and adulthood, and (d) old age. You are at present going to await at each of these in plow.

3.ii  Diet during pregnancy and lactation

An unborn child needs a good for you and well-nourished mother to grow properly. Therefore, a female parent needs to gain weight during pregnancy to assistance nourish her growing infant. Women who do not gain enough weight ofttimes have babies that weigh too fiddling (low nascence weight). A baby weighing less than 2.5 kg has an increased chance of both physical and mental health bug. It may also suffer more from infection and malnutrition compared with babies of normal weight. The increased requirement of nutrients during pregnancy and lactation is shown in Box 3.1.

Box 3.i  Increased nutrients required during pregnancy

Increased requirements: energy, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamin A, vitamin C, B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B12, folate), calcium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, copper and iodine.

Women should gain at least 11 kg during pregnancy (Figure 3.ane). If the mother gains less than this, the baby’southward chances of survival and health declines. If a mother is overweight, she still needs to gain for her babe’s health. She should non effort to lose weight while she is pregnant.

Effigy 3.1  Gaining weight during pregnancy.

iii.2.1  Gaining weight in pregnancy

A pregnant mother should gain weight smoothly and steadily. If weight gain occurs suddenly, she should run into a health professional.

  • During the first three months, she should expect to proceeds a full of 1–2 kg.
  • During the last six months, she needs to gain nigh 0.five kg each week.
  • If she has already gained eleven kg after six–seven months, she should go along to gain moderately until delivery.

The babe puts most of its weight during the last few months.

  • A 29 weeks pregnant woman (that is vii months and i week) has already gained 12 kilograms of weight. What would you suggest her and why?

  • Even though the significant adult female has gained 12 kg (the minimum required being 11 kg), you should advise her to go along to gain weight lilliputian past little until her baby is born. This is because the unborn baby puts on nearly of its weight during the last months of pregnancy.

3.2.ii  Eating during pregnancy

Women’s nutrition during pregnancy and lactation should focus on the 3 micronutrients (vitamin A, iron and iodine) and extra free energy intake/reduction of energy expenditure. Therefore the post-obit are essential nutrition actions related to maternal diet:

  • A meaning or breastfeeding woman needs extra foods, especially those that are good sources of atomic number 26.
  • Pregnant women need at to the lowest degree one additional meal (200 Kcal) per day during the pregnancy.
  • A pregnant woman needs to cutting down her energy expenditure. She should reduce her interest in strenuous household tasks that atomic number 82 to college free energy expenditure.
  • Pregnant women should swallow iodised common salt in their diet.
  • Pregnant women should accept vitamin A rich foods (such every bit papaya, mango, tomato, carrot, and dark-green leafy vegetable) and animal foods (such every bit fish and liver).
  • In the malarious areas, significant women should sleep nether an insecticide-treated bed net.
  • Meaning women during the third trimester of pregnancy should exist de-wormed using mebendazole or albendazole (you will larn nigh the doses for this in Report Session 7 of this Module).
  • Meaning women demand a well counterbalanced nutrition containing mixture of foods. This should include every bit far as possible food from the different food groups (animal products, fruits, vegetables, cereals and legumes).
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Retrieve, there is no need for high-priced foods! A pregnant or lactating woman tin get extra foods by eating a little more of ordinary meals. She should increase the amount of nourishment at one or ii meals, not every repast.

iii.ii.three  Preventing anaemia in pregnancy

Some women feel weak and tired when meaning. They may be anaemic, which in plow means that they may take difficulty in pregnancy and childbirth. Common issues linked to the mother’s anaemia include:

  • Babies volition be built-in without 3 to half dozen months iron supply
  • Breastmilk may have bereft fe.

A pregnant or breastfeeding mother should have enough iron to keep herself and her baby good for you. She should eat plenty of iron-rich foods every day such as dried beans, legumes, night light-green leafy vegetables, liver, kidney and eye.

A pregnant female parent should go for her first antenatal care visit at the latest by the 4th month of her pregnancy. At the clinic, check her urine for excess sugar and proteins, and her blood for malaria (if she is showing signs of infection).

You diagnose anaemia in the following mode:

Examine the lower eyelids, the inside of the lips and the palms which should be bright pink; if there is anaemia, all of these will be pale whitish.

  • Give the female parent iron tablets or tablets with iron and folate to build strong claret
  • Remind the mother to take the tablets after a main meal. She should not accept iron tablets with tea, coffee or milk
  • If the iron tablets upset the female parent or cause side effects, she should non terminate taking atomic number 26, merely eat more leafy vegetables.

three.2.4  Pregnant women with special needs

Some significant women in your customs will be peculiarly vulnerable. As a Health Extension Practitioner it is of import that you identify the women who may need actress help and support. Box iii.2 gives examples of women who may demand special assistance from yous and outlines the kinds of service you can provide for them.

Box 3.2  Identifying and helping meaning women who demand special help

Meaning women who might need special aid


  • Women from poor families, or who are unemployed
  • Women who are widows/separated, and have no support
  • Mothers who accept given nascency to many babies over a short time
  • Women who are sick from diseases like Tuberculosis (TB)
  • Women who expect thin and depressed
  • Mothers whose previous babies were small and malnourished
  • Teenagers
  • Women with a history of their baby or babies dying in their showtime year of life
  • Mothers overburdened with work
  • Mothers who are very worried, particularly first time pregnancies.

he Wellness Extension Practitioner
’s office

  • Visit the significant women often
  • Encourage them to eat as proficient mixture of foods as they tin can afford (fruits, vegetables, animal source foods)
  • Let them exist the outset ones to receive iron or food supplements, when available
  • Help them to get proper healthcare
  • Encourage other members of the household to do some of the work and lessen the work burden on the adult female.

  • What are the effects of depression maternal iron level for the baby and mother in pregnancy?

  • The mother will take difficulty during childbirth and pregnancy. The babe of an anaemic mother will non develop well and volition have low birth weight. The baby will then exist easily affected by different infections.

  • Which parts of the torso should you examine to find out whether a pregnant woman is anaemic or non?

  • You should examine the lower eyelids, within of the lips and the palms of the hand. If there is anaemia, they will be stake whitish; if there is no anaemia they will be pinkish.

3.3  Nutrition during lactation (breastfeeding)

If all babies are to exist good for you and grow well, they must be fed breastmilk. When a infant sucks at the nipple, this causes the milk to come into the breast and go on to menstruum. Breastmilk is food produced by the female parent’s trunk especially for the baby, and it contains all the nutrients (nourishment) a healthy baby needs.

A lactating woman needs at least two actress meals (550 Kcal) of whatsoever is available at home. In addition a dose of vitamin A (200,000IU) should be given once between delivery and six weeks afterward delivery. This volition enable the baby to go an adequate supply of vitamin A for the start six months. During the kickoff vi months the best way of feeding the baby is for the mother to breastfeed exclusively. You will learn more almost this in Study Session 4 of this Module. Box 3.three shows the nutrients required during lactation.

Box 3.3  Increased nutrients required during lactation

Increased requirements: vitamins A, C, East, all B vitamins, and sodium (applies only to individuals under age 18).

In improver to extra meals and one high dose of vitamin A, a breastfeeding woman also needs:

  • Iodised common salt in her nutrition
  • At least 1 litre of water per twenty-four hours
  • Vitamin A rich foods (such as papaya, mango, tomato, carrot and green leafy vegetables) and animal foods (such as fish and liver).

Yous accept learnt what pregnant and lactating women require to exist healthy and well for themselves and their babies. At present you lot are going to wait at the nutritional requirements of infants, children and adolescents.

3.iv  Nutritional requirements in infancy, childhood and adolescence

The mutual characteristic of infancy, childhood and adolescence is that all these historic period groups are undergoing rapid growth and evolution. This in turn poses a heavy demand on their nutritional requirements. Small children and infants do non have a well adult trunk nutrient store, and therefore are more vulnerable to infection. In addition they have a larger surface surface area compared to their body size. All these factors increase their basal metabolic rate (BMR), resulting in an increased requirement for nutrients.

3.four.1  Adolescent growth spurt

Adolescents too undergo a very rapid growth during their puberty (chosen the
pubertal growth spurt). During the pubertal growth spurt, they increase rapidly both in weight and acme. Therefore, they need a nutrient intake that is proportional with their rate of growth. The growth charge per unit is very loftier correct afterward birth (infancy). And so the growth rate slows downwardly until the age of 12–14 years. At about fifteen–16 years (the pubertal catamenia) in that location is a sharp rise in growth rate/velocity. Later that, the growth rate slows down again.

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Requirements for macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients are college on a per kilogram footing during infancy and childhood than at whatsoever other developmental stage. These needs are influenced by the rapid prison cell division occurring during growth, which requires protein, energy and fat. Increased needs for these nutrients are reflected in daily requirements for these age groups, some of which are briefly discussed below.

3.iv.two  Increased demand for nutrients

Free energy

While most adults require 25–30 calories per kg, a four kg infant requires more than than 100 kilocalories per kg (430 calories/day). Infants of iv to six months who weigh half dozen kg require roughly 82 kilocalories per kg (490 calories/24-hour interval). Energy needs remain loftier through the early on determinative years. Children of one to iii years require approximately 83 kilocalories per kg (990 calories/day). Energy requirements decline thereafter and are based on weight, peak, and concrete activity.

As an energy source, breastmilk offers pregnant advantages over manufactured formula milk. Breastfeeding is associated with reduced risk for obesity, a wide range of allergies, hypertension, and type 1 diabetes. It is also linked with improved cognitive evolution; and with decreased incidence and severity of infections. It is likewise less plush than formula feeding. The list below outlines the nutrients and other constituents of breastmilk:

  • Water = 87–89%
  • Vitamins (particularly vitamin A)
  • Fatty = 3–5%
  • Energy = 60–70 kcal/100 ml
  • Carbohydrate (lactose) = half-dozen.9–7.2%
  • Mineral = 0.two%
  • Protein = 0.8–0.9%

Higher intakes of protein and energy for growth are recommended for adolescents. For most micronutrients, recommendations are the same as for adults. Exceptions are made for sure minerals needed for os growth (east.thousand. calcium and phosphorus). Bear witness is articulate that bone calcium accretion increases as a event of exercise rather than from increases in calcium intake. Since weight proceeds often begins during boyhood and young adulthood, immature people must institute healthy eating and lifestyle habits that reduce the risk for chronic affliction later in life.


Infants and children demand enough of h2o to drinkable, specially when sick, or exposed to extreme temperatures.

Total water requirements (from beverages and foods) are also higher in infants and children than for adults. Children accept a larger body surface surface area per unit of measurement of body weight and a reduced capacity for sweating when compared with adults, and therefore are at greater risk of morbidity and bloodshed from aridity. Parents may underestimate these fluid needs, especially if infants and children are experiencing fever, diarrhoea or exposure to very cold or very hot temperatures.

Essential fatty acids

Requirements for fatty acids or fats on a per kilogram basis are higher in infants than adults (see Box 3.4). Some fat acids play a primal part in the central nervous system. However infants and children should not ingest large amounts of foods that contain predominantly fats, so information technology is important to get the balance correct.

Box 3.four  Increased nutrients required during infancy, childhood and adolescence

Infancy and babyhood

Increased requirements of energy, protein, essential fatty acids, calcium and phosphorus.


Increased requirements of energy, protein, calcium, phosphorus and zinc.

3.five  Nutritional requirements during machismo

The nutritional needs in adults of xix–50 years of age differ slightly co-ordinate to gender. Males crave more of vitamins C, Thou, B1, B2 and B3, and zinc. Females require more than iron, compared with males of similar age.

Yous have already seen that pregnant women and lactating mothers have particular nutrient requirements that are necessary for their own health likewise equally the wellness of their infant.

3.half dozen  Nutritional requirements during after years

Elderly people are especially vulnerable to nutritional problems due to age related changes in their torso (impaired physiological and anatomical capacity). Box 3.v overleaf sets out some of the problems an older person might feel which could impact on their diet.

Box 3.5  Possible nutritional issues in old age

  • Problems of procuring and preparing foods
  • Psychosocial issues
  • Digestion problems
  • Nutrient assimilation problems
  • Renal changes
  • Memory loss (senile dementia), which may include forgetting to eat
  • Sensory changes
  • Physical problems like weakness, gouty arthritis and painful joints.

3.6.ane  Specific nutrient requirements in erstwhile age

An elderly person requires less energy than a younger private due to reductions in muscle mass and concrete activity. Some daily requirements for elderly people differ from those of younger adults. For example, in order to reduce the risk for historic period related bone loss and fracture, the requirement for vitamin D is increased from 200 IU/day to 400 in individuals of 51–70 years of age and to 600 IU/day for those over lxx years of age. Suggested iron intakes reduce however from xviii mg per twenty-four hours in women aged 19–50 to 8 mg/day after age 50, due to meliorate iron conservation and decreased losses in postmenopausal women compared with younger women.

Some elderly people have difficulty getting acceptable diet because of age or disease related impairments in chewing, swallowing, digesting and arresting nutrients. Their nutrient status may as well exist afflicted past decreased product of chemicals to digest nutrient (digestive enzymes), changes in the cells of the bowel surface and drug–nutrient interactions. Some elderly people demonstrate selenium deficiency, a mineral important for immune function. Impaired immune function affects susceptibility to infections and tumours (malignancies). Vitamin B6 helps to heave selenium levels, so a higher intake for people aged 51–seventy is recommended.

Nutritional interventions should get-go emphasise healthy foods, with supplements playing a secondary role. Although pocket-sized supplementary doses of micronutrients tin both prevent deficiency and back up immune functions, very high dose supplementation (example, high dose zinc) may have the reverse effect and issue in immune-suppression. Therefore, elderly people too need special attention with regard to nutritional intendance.

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3.7  Nutritional requirements throughout the life cycle: conclusion

Requirements for energy and micronutrients change throughout the life wheel. Although inadequate intake of sure micronutrients is a concern, bug also come up from the dietary excesses of energy, saturated fat, cholesterol and eating refined carbohydrates, all of which are contributing to obesity and chronic disease in adult countries. Below is a summary of the number of meals required at different stages in the lifecycle that might aid you in your work in your customs.

Elderly people

Elderly people

Need at least two and if possible more than meals each day as they may non swallow much at each repast. They need fewer calories than younger people, but about the same amount of poly peptide and other nutrients. Women who take stopped menstruating need less atomic number 26 than childbearing women. Old people may demand soft food.


Man standing up

Need at least two mixed meals every 24-hour interval and some snacks. They tin can get enough energy from few large meals and from bulky nutrient.


Woman holding her baby

Need at least two mixed meals every day and some snacks. If they are pregnant or lactating they demand as almost equally much food as men, particularly if they are also doing hard concrete piece of work. They need much more iron and folate than men especially when they are pregnant.


Adolescent girl

Demand at least two large mixed meals and some snacks each day. They can swallow bulky nutrient. Boys need a lot of calories. Girls need plenty of iron. Significant adolescent girls are still growing so they need more than food than pregnant women.

Schoolhouse aged children

School aged boy

Need at least ii to three mixed meals and some snacks each twenty-four hours.

Children 1–5 years old

Small girl

Demand breastmilk until they are at least ii years old. They need at least three mixed meals and two snacks each day. They cannot swallow big bulky meals. It is peculiarly important for the meals to be make clean and non to contain parasites or microorganisms that could cause diarrhoea or other infection.

Babies 6-12 months

Baby with toy

Need breastmilk eight to x times or more each day. They need small meals, which are non bulky, three to five times a twenty-four hours.

Babies under 6 months old

Need but breastmilk at least eight to x times each twenty-four hour period.

As a Health Extension Practitioner, yous can assist families in choosing foods that keeps energy intake within reasonable bounds, while maximising intake of nutrient-rich foods, particularly vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.

Self-Assessment Questions (SAQs) for Study Session three

At present that you have completed this study session, you lot can assess how well you have achieved its Learning Outcomes past answering the questions below. Write your answers in your Report Diary and talk over them with your Tutor at the next Study Support Meeting. You tin check your answers with the Notes on the Cocky-Assessment Questions at the end of this Module.

SAQ 3.i (tests Learning Outcomes 3.1 and 3.two)

A pregnant woman asks your advice nearly what to eat because she is worried virtually having another low birth weight babe. What should you tell her?


When advising a pregnant adult female what to eat, you lot would starting time tell her that it is very important to gain weight during her pregnancy (at to the lowest degree eleven kilograms). And so you demand to advise her about eating foods that contain vitamin A, iron and iodine, and making sure she has enough free energy. She needs to eat a well-balanced diet just in that location is no need for expensive boosted foods.

SAQ three.two (tests Learning Outcomes 3.2 and 3.3)

Mrs X tells you she does not have enough milk for her baby. What questions would you want to ask before deciding how best to help her?


If a female parent tells y’all she does non have enough milk for her babe you would want to enquire her if she is eating plenty (more than she did before becoming a mother), and if she is eating a good mix of food. You would likewise want to inquire her if she is drinking enough. Finally you need to know if she received a dose of vitamin A shortly after giving nascency and if she is now eating nutrient containing high amounts of vitamin A.

SAQ 3.3 (tests Learning Outcomes 3.3 and 3.five)

Children and elderly people both need special nutritional care. However, the care they need is different. What are two of these differences?


There are many differences betwixt the nutritional needs of children and elderly people merely you might have chosen ii of the post-obit:

  • Pocket-sized children take a higher basal metabolic rate than older people and so need more than nutrients
  • Children have huge energy requirements then need more calories than older people
  • Children need more h2o because they are at greater risk of dehydration
  • Older people might have concrete problems which make eating hard
  • Older people demand more vitamin D.

SAQ 3.iv (tests Learning Outcomes 3.ane and 3.4)

A mother is worried because her adolescent son is eating and then much. Is she right to exist and so worried? What are the reasons for your respond?


A mother whose adolescent son is eating a lot does non need to worry unless he is eating a lot of 1 type of food. Adolescents feel a growth spurt at the age of 15/16 so need a large intake of all kinds of nutrients during this time.

Compare and Contrast the Nutritional Needs of Infants and Adults