The Growth Process and the Nutritional Needs of the Term Infant
Infants experience a rapid growth process in the first few months, with their weight doubling and tripling within five to six months. In the first four months, their length tends to increase by at least 50% (Mazur & Litch, 2018). After that, the growth process becomes steady but slower, with an annual length increment of about 5% (Mazur & Litch, 2018). The infant’s nutritional needs are usually high, and they tend to rely on breast milk for vital nutrients. Although carbohydrates and proteins are less required at this stage, they still play a significant role in the growth and development of the child.
Introduction of Solid Foods
Solid foods are introduced to infants at six months, although they may get ready for solid foods at the fourth month. Infants should be introduced to solid foods after they control their heads and trunk (Mazur & Litch, 2018). Having control of themselves enables them to turn away from food after being satisfied. The introduction of solid foods should be based on the infant’s interest, especially when they portray hunger.
Nutritional Concerns for Each of the Three Stages of Childhood
In infancy, the nutritional concern is ensuring the infant gets enough breast milk for essential nutrients and a proper introduction of solid food. Lack of essential nutrients may lead to malnutrition and growth faltering (Feldman et al., 2019). At toddlerhood, the child may develop iron deficiency anemia and constipation (Feldman et al., 2019). In childhood, a poor diet may lead to deficiencies in vitamins and nutrients, weakening the child’s immunity and making them vulnerable to diseases.
Nutritional Concerns for the Adolescence
The major nutritional concerns for adolescents are poor dietary choices, eating disorders and obesity. As teens become more independent, their dietary choices tend to deteriorate (Baxter, 2022). For instance, there is low consumption of fruits and vitamins among teens but a high consumption of calories. Teens are at a higher risk of developing eating disorders such as anorexia, especially girls concerned with their body image (Baxter, 2022). Many teens obsessed with losing weight may develop unhealthy dietary behaviors such as skipping meals or forcefully vomiting to get rid of the body’s food (Baxter, 2022). Lastly, teens are at risk of developing obesity due to the poor food choices they make, such as over relying on processed and fast foods.
Baxter, J. (2022). Nutrition in adolescence: Multiple challenges, lifelong consequences and the foundation for adult health. The Conversation.
Feldman, K., Solymos, G., de Albuquerque, M. P., & Chawla, N. V. (2019). Unraveling complexity about childhood obesity and nutritional interventions: Modeling interactions among psychological factors. Scientific reports, 9(1), 1-10.
Mazur, E., & Litch, N. (2018). Lutz’s Nutrition and Diet Therapy, 7e (pp. 179 – 189). F.A. Davis Company.