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Nutrition and Hydration Necessities in Children

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Nutrients are essential for body’s development and maintenance. They provide sustenance to the body.

Nutrients falls into 7 groups that comprise carbohydrate, protein, fat, fiber, mineral, vitamin, and water. All are vital for the sufficient functioning of the body. Macronutrients functions as a foundation of energy, whereas micronutrients plays a key role in biochemical reactions. Amongst the most important nutrients is water; it serves as a solvent, a substrate for major metabolic reactions and a mode of transport.

In children, the daily caloric requirement is considered based on the age, sex, and activity status of the child. For a child between 2 to 3 years of age, the suggested daily caloric intake is 1000 to 1400 kcal/day; this prerequisite rises with the age of the child. Children during a development spurt, need greater amounts of calories to keep the body as well as to grow. The daily suggested caloric intake for children 11 to 12 years range between 1800 and 2200 kcal/day. Alternative way to simplify caloric need is that an infant needs 100cal/kg/day, ages 1 to 3 years need 80 kcal/kg/day, 4 to 5 years needs 70kcal/kg/day, 6 to 8 years needs 60 to 65 kcal/kg/day and 9+ needs 35 to 45 kcal/kg/day. Growth charts are vital in guiding nutritional treatment in children.

Dehydration can happen owing to insufficient consumption of water and classifies into 3 categories based on the percentage of body fluid loss. Loss of <5%, 5% to 10%, and >10% of body weight loss categorizes as mild, moderate, and severe dehydration, respectively. Mild to moderate dehydration is treatable with oral fluids. 

In children, a bolus of 20 ml/kg of 0.9% normal saline should be administered in 10 to 20 minutes. If the vitals do not recover, the bolus dose can be given again. Primary care providers should keep an eye on the nutritional status and development of new signs and symptoms in their patients. 

The deficiency of any one of these nutrients can cause serious health concerns. Hence, it is essential to consume a diet that is rich in both macronutrients and micronutrients. 

Source: StatPearls Publishing; 2021 Jan-. Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562207/

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