Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Feeding Kids Fiber?

Feeding Kids Fiber?
Provided by: DrWeil.com

Q: I recently heard that most youngsters don't get enough fiber. How much do they need? -- Jane J.

A: It's true: most kids don't get enough fiber. Researchers from Penn State University recently asked parents of 5,437 young children to report what their kids ate over a two-day period. The youngsters' main sources of fiber turned out to be applesauce, fruit cocktail, and pizza! Results of the survey were published in the February 2005 issue of the Journal of the American Dietetic Association.

Kids need fiber for the same reasons adults do: to prevent constipation and to protect against heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and some types of cancer later in life. You get fiber from fruits, vegetables, whole grains and cereals (look for products providing four to five grams of fiber per serving). In addition to fiber, these foods also provide such important nutrients as iron, folate and vitamins A and C.

The National Academy of Sciences recommends eating 14 grams of fiber for each 1,000 calories consumed. That may be hard for parents to calculate on an every- day basis.

The American Heart Association has a simpler formula, a fiber guideline of age plus 5. Here's the way it works: a five year old should consume 5 (his age) plus 5 for a total of 10 grams.

The Heart Association recommends that the parents of all kids over age two should make an effort to ensure that their children get the recommended amount of fiber for their age. Once a child starts consuming an adult level of calories (1,500 per day) his fiber intake should be 25 grams, the amount recommended for adults.
Andrew Weil, M.D.

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