Child Nutrition

Child Nutrition


feeding of the child. Normal physical and neuropsychic development of the child and production of immunity to various diseases depend on properly constituted nutrition. A characteristic of child development at every age level is a high requirement for all nutritional and biological components. The problems of the nutritional requirements of children over one year of age are considered separately for various age groups. In the USSR it is customary to divide children into the following age groups: from birth to 2½-3½ weeks (neonatal period), 3½ weeks to one year, one to three years, three to seven years, seven to 12 years, and 12 to 15 years. The child’s diet must contain all essential nutrients (proteins, fats, carbohydrates, mineral salts, vitamins, and so on) in the necessary quantity and in the proper proportion of proteins, fats, and carbohydrates (1:1:4, respectively). In older school-age children (12 to 15 years), the carbohydrate requirement increases owing to higher levels of energy expenditure, and the ratio should be 1:1:5.

Table 1. Approximate daily intake of foods for children aged 1-15 years (in grams)
 1-1.5 yrs.1.5-3 yrs.3-5 yrs.5-7 yrs.7-12 yrs.12-15 yrs.
1 Fraction of an egg
Source: Compiled by the Nutrition Institute of the Academy of Medical Sciences of the USSR
Wheat bread...............4070100125150200
Rye bread...............1030305075125
Potato flour...............555555
Wheat flour...............5510152535
Groats, macaroni products, legumes...............253540456580
Various vegetables...............100150200200300400
Fresh fruits...............100100100100100100
Dried fruits and cranberries...............101020202020
Vegetable oil...............255810
Cottage cheese...............353545454550
Sour cream...............510101520

The digestive capacity of a child’s gastrointestinal tract attains a considerable degree of perfection by the age of one year, and the selection of foods for children over a year old should become more varied. Milk and milk products, eggs, meat (beef, veal, lean pork, chicken, brains, and liver), lean varieties offish, groats and flour products, and sugar are part of the diet. Special attention must be given in the menu to having a variety of vegetables and fruits and to berries, both in fresh and processed form. It is recommended that cultivated and wild greens (scallions, dill, parsley, spinach, lettuce, and the like) be included in children’s diets. It is necessary to include foods rich in cellulose (bread, vegetables). Butter, milk, sugar, bread, vegetables, and groats are part of the daily menu; cottage cheese, cheese, sour cream, fish, meat, and eggs need not be eaten daily; vegetarian food may be eaten one day a week, but it must include products containing a sufficient quantity of animal protein (for example, eggs). The use of confectionery products in the nutrition of children up to 1½ years of age is limited; subsequently, it is desirable to use preserves, jellies, jam, and crackers as sweets. Chocolate products may be given to children only from the age of 2-3 years. Vegetable oil should constitute 10-15 percent of the total quantity of fats. Children over two years may eat limited quantities of sausages, frankfurters, and lean ham; children of this age may be given cheese, caviar, and soaked herring. Butter, cream, and milk are rich in fats. Canned, pickled, and smoked foods should not be given to young children; older children may eat limited quantities of these foods. Vitamin requirements should be satisfied by dietary means; in the spring, when the vitamin content of fruits and vegetables is lower, synthetic preparations of vitamin C are prescribed—50-100 mg per day. It is very healthful to include yeast in a child’s diet, since it contains valuable proteins, B vitamins, and phosphorus. The most important source of vitamin D is cod-liver oil, as well as milk, animal liver, and eggs. Children obtain minerals from foods of animal and vegetable origin. Cooking, which imparts flavor, aroma, and appearance to foods, is an important factor in child nutrition. Children up to the age of 1½ years should be given steamed meat products and pureed vegetables; from the age of two years, vegetables may be finely chopped; from three years, meat may be stewed or fried in small pieces, and so on. For older children, nutrition differs not so much in the way food is prepared or cooked, as in the size of helpings. The menu for school-age children (7-15 years) differs from that for adults only in the amount of food consumed at each meal and during each day.

Rational child nutrition also includes a proper schedule of eating. Up to the age of 1½ years, the child may be fed five, and later four, times a day. Food intake in the course of the day should be distributed as follows. Breakfast should be 20-25 percent of the daily ration, dinner 35-40 percent, midafternoon snack 15 percent, and supper 25-30 percent. Proper use of water is important in the child’s nutrition. During the first year of life the daily water intake should be 150-100 ml per kg of body weight; from one to three years it should be 100 ml; from three to seven years, 60 ml; and for older children, 50 ml per day per kg of body weight. In order to improve children’s nutrition, especially during the winter and spring, when the supply of fresh fruits and vegetables decreases, the food industry of the USSR produces vegetable and fruit and berry juices, canned goods, purees, quick-frozen vegetables and fruits, dried milk, and prepared blends of food for children. The technology of manufacturing these products ensures the preservation of important nutrients that are part of the raw materials, including vitamins.

The Directives of the Twenty-fourth Congress of the CPSU on the five-year plan for the development of the national economy for 1971-75 state that the tasks in the field of child nutrition are as follows: “To raise the quality, broaden the variety, and improve the nutritional value and flavor qualities of food products. To develop at ever-increasing tempos the production of food products for children, canned fruits and vegetables, and high-quality confectionery products” (Materialy XXIV s’ezda KPSS, 1971, p. 258).


Pitanie zdorovogo i bol’nogo rebenka. Edited by M. I. Olevskii and Iu. K. Poltevaia. Moscow, 1965.
Spravochnikpediatra. Edited by M. la. Studenikin. Moscow, 1966.
Pokrovskii, A. A. Besedy o pitanii, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1968.


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