How Do Nutritional Needs Change According to Age?
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Different Nutritional Needs Among Different Age Groups

Published on Feb 24, 2023   -  4 min read


Aging is associated with various changes in quality of life and health outcomes. Therefore, a proper diet is essential in every age group.


Growing age brings a lot of changes in humans, characterized by loss of muscle tone, gastrointestinal changes, and thinner skin. Few changes are caused by the lack of proper nutrition and diet, affecting the quality of life. Appropriate nutritional requirements and a balanced diet are essential for every age group. The human body changes as the individual grow in different age groups, and a sufficient amount of nutrition is required for that growth and development. As there is a difference in dietary requirements in various age groups, attention should be given to the nutritional habits in every age group. However, a varied diet is necessary, which consists of plenty of nutrient-dense food regardless of age. A balanced diet consisting of a variety of food, vegetables, whole grains, and proteins promotes growth and development at every age.

What Is The Nutritional Requirement of Infants?

Mother's milk is the gold standard for babies for six months. Mother's milk consists of cholesterol, fat, carbohydrate, and protein in appropriate proportions. Therefore, it is the perfect nutritional choice for newborns. In addition, it provides immunity to the child for protection against various diseases. Pediatricians recommend that babies should be breastfed exclusively for six months. Apart from mother's milk, baby formula is also given if there is an inconvenience in feeding. Prepared infant formula provides enough water content to prevent any water loss.

What Is The Nutritional Requirement of Children?

Solid food should be introduced to the child after six months of birth. Adequate diet and nutrition are essential for the child’s growth and developmental needs. New solid foods are presented to the child gradually; eventually, they are weaned from breastfeeding milk.

Following are a few dietary intake steps to maintain body nutrition:

  • The child should be given food enriched with iron and zinc. Cereals, tofu, legumes, soya, lentils, poultry dishes, and meats should be shown.

  • Various fruits and vegetables should be given to enhance the mineral and vitamin supply.

  • Protein intake is essential for building muscle mass. Therefore, whole grains, eggs, fruits, and vegetables should be given to the child.

  • Avoid adding unnecessary sugar, salt, and honey to the child’s food.

  • Cow milk should be given to the child at twelve months of age. The milk should be pasteurized.

  • After two years of age, low-fat or fat-free dairy products should be given to the child.

  • Processed food should be avoided.

  • Whole fruit should be given to children instead of fruit juices as it contains added sugar and preservatives.

  • Whole nuts, seeds, and hard foods should be avoided as there is a risk of choking.

  • Parents should observe the child for sensitivity and allergy to food items.

What Is The Nutritional Requirement of Pregnant and Lactating Mothers?

During pregnancy and lactation, women should concentrate on their dietary intake as the body requires proper diet and nutrition. Therefore, nutrition intake should be increased rather than kilojoule intake. During the first and second trimesters of pregnancy, the dietary requirement of the body is increased. Lactating mothers require the proper amount of iodine and choline in their diet. In addition, there should be an adequate amount of protein, minerals, vitamins, and fluid intake in lactating mothers.

Following are a few dietary intake steps to maintain body nutrition for pregnant and lactating mothers:

  • Approximately 1400 to 1900 kilojoules of energy is required during the second and third trimester of pregnancy, equivalent to one sandwich or glass of milk.

  • The concentration should be given to the quality of the diet instead of quantity.

  • Folate, iron, and vitamin B12 supplements should be added to the diet.

  • An iron supplement is essential as it is required for oxygen transport.

  • Vitamin C helps increase iron absorption in the body and provides immunity.

  • Folate is important in pregnancy's first and second trimesters as it prevents neural tube defects.

  • For the growing child's development, iodine is essential. Seafood and iodized salts are good sources of iodine.

  • Adequate fluid intake should be maintained, and alcohol should be avoided.

What Is The Nutritional Requirement of Adolescence?

Adults between the ages of nineteen to fifty years need to consume a properly balanced diet and five portions of fruits, green leafy vegetables, fish, and meat twice a day. The base of the diet should be carbohydrates like rice, pasta, bread, and potatoes. There should be micronutrients and fiber in the whole meal. There should be exercise and calorie drop after moving from the teenage years as the growth spurt ends at this stage and bone formation is completed.

What Is The Nutritional Requirement of Elders?

Older individuals should take nutrient-dense food instead of a high-calorie diet. The basal metabolic rate of older people drops down as they grow old. However, the requirement for micronutrition increases. Omega 3 fatty acid is essential in the diet to maintain the brain's functioning. Vitamin D supplements should be incorporated as the ability to synthesize vitamin D from UV light decreases with age.

Vitamin A source food should be included in diets, such as sweet potatoes and carrots, to maintain the function and power of the eye. Food containing antioxidants, such as tomatoes, should be taken to protect the cells from damage. Fish, meat, and dairy products should be used as they are good sources of vitamin B12. Processed food, high salt and sugar content, and ready-to-eat meals should be avoided as they increase the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.


Nutrient-rich food and proper supplements can keep you healthy at every age. Nutritional needs of the body change as we grow at every stage. The calorie needs of the person differ according to weight, height, activity, and muscle mass. The nutritional priorities differ among various age groups. Therefore, there should be proper knowledge and awareness of appropriate dietary intake among different age groups. There should be a conscious effort to take a balanced diet, supplements, and nutrient-rich food. It prevents various nutritional deficiency diseases but also promotes better health and immunity.

Last reviewed at:
24 Feb 2023  -  4 min read




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