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Lifespan Nutritional Needs, Essay Example

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Essay

As we grow older, our nutritional needs begin to change. Not only do they change throughout different stages of life, but they also vary depending on whether you are male or female. The following are nutrient requirements for the lifespan of both men and women:

Infants

Infants of both sexes leave the mother’s womb and live on their mother’s breast milk for the first four to six months of their life. If breastfeeding is not possible, then the infant should be formula fed.This provides all the necessary nutrients to sustain good health during this time frame. From age six to 12 months, infants can begin eating solid foods such as rice, oatmeal, soft fruits, cooked veggies and meats. After they are a year old, they can graduate to eating larger, raw fruits, vegetables and lean meats.

Teenagers

Teens have to keep a well balanced diet because they are growing during these years. They also have to be able to concentrate in school and get adequate nutrition to help them play sports, as well. They need sufficient iron in their diet; teenage girls usually do not get enough of this. Protein, calcium and Vitamin D are particularly important during a teenager’s growth spurt. This includes fish, chicken breast, skim milk, cheese and low fat yogurts. Boys usually need more calories than girls because they have more muscle mass and tend to grow taller. Another facet of teenage life, particularly for women is the pressure to stay thin. They are more likely to suffer from eating disorders and inadequate nutrition, than males.

Adults

Adult men and women have different nutritional needs based on their occupation and activity level. Those who have sedentary jobs, can get away with eating a 1500-1800 calorie a day diet, without weight gain. However, those who work in field such as construction, cleaning, fitness instruction, etc..require a greater calorie intake of at least 2000-3000 calories daily. Women of child bearing age, must eat plenty of iron rich foods like cooked fish and poultry products, as well as spinach and other leafy green vegetables. Just before and during pregnancy, women have to pay close attention to the diet, as this can affect the health of the baby. Along with obtaining nutrients from all of the major food groups, she may take folic acid supplements to aid in proper development of the child’s spinal cord. They should also avoid raw foods that may contain poisonous bacteria, like fish, eggs and soft cheeses.

Older Adults

Older adults are not as physically active as younger adults, so their calorie needs are reduced. Calcium is very important to maintain strong bones. Women are particularly susceptible to developing osteoporosis later in life, so they should increase their calcium intake Fiber rich foods such as multigrain breads and slow cooked oatmeal aid in the digestion of older adults. A variety of B-vitamins plus protein help maintain a healthy central nervous system and protects body tissues from damage.

References

Allen, Lindsay H. (1984). Functional Indications of Nutritional Status of the Whole Individual or the Community. 3. 169–174.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005.”. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services & U.S. Department of Agriculture. 2005. http://www.healthierus.gov/dietaryguidelines/index.html. Retrieved 2005-10-13.

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