Skip to Main Content

HLT 111 - Health and the Young Child - Textbook

Chapter 9: Basic Concepts about Food and Nutrition​

Chapter Objectives

 At the conclusion of this chapter students will be able to

  1. Describe the importance of Nutrition Guidelines
  2. Describe nutritional considerations in infants and young children
  3. Explain how to do the assessment of a child’s weight status
  4. Describe the US Nutrition Guidelines for Children
  5.  Describe common feeding concerns and health problems related to eating patterns



The dietary recommendations of the American Academy of Pediatrics apply to Infants and children younger than 2 years of age . The Dietary Guidelines for Americans does not apply to persons younger than 2 years of age. The gold standard for nutrition planning in the United States and Canada is the Dietary Reference Intake. It consist of components like recommended daily allowance (RDA), Adequate Intake (AI), Estimated Average Requirement (EAR), and Tolerable Upper Intake Level (UL). 

We use DRI’s to planning diets and assessing the nutrient intake of individuals and groups.

The MyPlate Model Choose My Plate provides comprehensive information about portion sizes, nutrient contributions, and food charts by age and sex.

There are six major nutrient categories: carbohydrates, proteins, fats; minerals, vitamins and water. The first three provide calories for energy in varying amounts depending on the type and portion size consumed. Individual requirements  depend on age, gender, and level of physical activity. A combination of a healthful balanced diet and physical activity appropriate for age and gender is required for a healthy growth and development of a child.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends eating within the following ranges: Carbohydrates: 45–65% of calories. Fat: 20–35% of calories. Protein: 10–35% of calories. Nutrient-related diseases and disorders result from excessive consumption, deficiencies or imbalances in the types of nutrients consumed.   

Energy is the capacity to do work. We need energy for :

  • Basal Metabolism
    • Basal Metabolic Rate- BMR: energy required for activity of the internal organs and maintaining of body temperature.
  • Physical Activity
  • Metabolizing of Food

Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats supply 90% of the dry weight of the diet and 100% of its energy. All three provide energy (measured in calories), but the amount of energy in 1 gram differs: 4 calories in a gram of carbohydrate or protein; 9 calories in a gram of fat.  These nutrients also differ in how quickly they supply energy. Carbohydrates are the quickest, and fats are the slowest.

Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are digested in the intestine, where they are broken down into their basic units: Carbohydrates into sugars;  Proteins into amino acids; Fats into fatty acids and glycerol. The body uses these basic units to build substances it needs for growth, maintenance, and activity (including other carbohydrates, proteins, and fats).

Chapter Review and Discussion Questions

Chapter Review

  1. List the advantages of early initiation of breast feeding within 1 hour of birth?
  2. Describe exclusive breast feeding. How long is exclusive breast feeding recommended?
  3. Describe the benefits of breast feeding/
  4. Breast feeding may be associated with better educational outcome s in children. Explain.
  5. Describe the indications for formula feeding for some infants.
  6. Calculate calorie requirements, food portion sizes, nutrient contributions by sex for a 4 year-old child with a daily physical activity of one hour using

Group Discussion

The CDC does not recommend breastfeeding of infants for HIV positive mothers. However,   The World Health Organization recommends HIV positive mothers to breastfeed their infants. Discuss the justification for the policy differences between the two organizations.