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September 2019

Pediatrics. 1995 Nov; 96(5 Pt 2): 1019-22.

Dietary fiber for children: how much?

Dwyer JT.

Department of Medicine (Nutrition) and Community Health, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston, MA, USA.

BACKGROUND. Dietary fiber intakes of most American children are lower than current American Academy of Pediatrics recommendations. Intakes of vegetarian children come closer to these levels. RESULTS. We summarize dietary fiber recommendations for children based on existing evidence. The general public needs guidance on appropriate fiber intake levels for children and adolescents. It is important to ensure that energy intakes are adequate by monitoring child weight, growth, and size, especially when fiber intakes are very high. At levels of "age plus 5 g" there seem to be few problems. CONCLUSIONS. Age plus 5 g is a reasonable recommendation and is easier to remember than others by weight or energy level, although it never exceeds them. Age plus 15 g is clearly excessive; there is less evidence about ill effects arising with age plus 10 g. Delivery of dietary fiber in food rather than by supplements is suggested to ensure intakes of other nutrients and to avoid medicalizing dietary intake. In addition to dietary fiber recommendations for the general population of healthy children, individualized recommendations may be necessary for some high-risk groups. Practical steps to increase child fiber intakes from food sources are provided. The article concludes with suggestions for further research. Age plus 5 g is a reasonable minimum recommendation for dietary fiber intakes for children older than 3 years of age.

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