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Dietary fiber intake in children: age plus 5 grams
American Family Physician, April 1996 v53 n5 p1857(2)
The current rate of dietary fiber intake for American children tends to be low, although
vegetarian children may have a higher intake. Dwyer discusses current recommendations and
practical ways of educating parents and caregivers about increasing fiber in the diet.
Low-fiber diets are associated with constipation in children, as well as increases in future risks of
obesity, hyperlipidemia and adult-onset diabetes mellitus. The current American Academy of
Pediatrics recommendations for dietary fiber (0.5 mg per kg per day) may be difficult for parents
to remember or implement, since the child's weight in kilograms may not be available. For
healthy children aged three years or older, it is proposed that "age plus 5 g" is a reasonable and
easy-to-remember formula to encourage. Dietary fiber should come from food sources and not
from supplements.
Parents should be educated about the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Food Pyramid,
which, if observed, would provide the "age plus 5 g" amount. Specifically, fiber-rich foods
include fruits such as apples, blackberries, bananas, dates, pears, oranges and prunes, and
vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, corn, peas and potatoes with skins. High-fiber fruits provide
approximately 3 g per serving of fiber; high-fiber vegetables provide about 2.5 g of fiber. Wholegrain breads, cereals and rice are also relatively high in fiber. Children should receive an
additional glass of liquid with each additional serving of fiber. Finally, a child's intake should not
exceed "age plus 10 g" per day unless there are case-specific reasons for this amount.
"Age plus 5 g" should be taught to parents of toddlers, school children and adolescents as a
means of improving our children's health. Dwyer JT. Dietary fiber for children: how much?
Pediatrics 1995;96:1019-22.)
Full Text COPYRIGHT American Academy of Family Physicians 1996