As the preschool child grows, he becomes increasingly mobile, the
energy requirements also increases. So, if the child is given insufficient food, the child
will not only be underweight but also have hindered growth. The rate of growth fluctuates
from one age to another. Upto 10 years of age there is no difference where nutritive
requirements are concerned. Insufficient calorie intake can lead to protein deficiency.
The increase in bone mass that must accompany bone growth requires
positive nitrogen balance that is met by protein intakes of 1.5 to 2 g/kg body weight. The
increase in total body size needs a larger vascular system to transport nutrients to the
tissues and waste products away from the tissues. All these activities create a need for
Fat energy including invisible fat for children should be 25% of total
energy and essential fatty acid energy is 5 6%.
Calcium requirements of children are calculated on the basis of the
amount of calcium accretion in the body. This deposition is not uniform through out
growing period, but would be relatively greater during early childhood and during
adolescence than during the other periods of growth. Deficiency of calcium can affect the
bones of growing children. Milk is the best source of calcium. Hence the diet of preschool
child should include 1 2 glasses of milk per day.
The daily requirements of iron for growth will be 0.2 mg. To meet the
increased demand for iron, iron rich foods like rice flakes, egg yolk and greens should be
included in the diet. Dietary lack of iron accompanied by hookworm infection can lead to
The incidence of vitamin A deficiency is high among Indian children
whose dietary intake is less than 100 mcg. According to the studies conducted by ICMR,
children receiving food supplements, which provided a total of 300 mcg of vitamin A per
day, for over a period of six months, had no signs of vitamin A deficiency. Deficiency of
vitamin A in children can cause bitots spots, night blindness or in sever cases
total blindness. Milk, eggs, carrots and green leafy vegetables contain vitamin A and
should be included in diet.