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Adolescence, Adulthood, and Later Years

Adolescence and Adulthood

The Institute of Medicine recommends higher intakes of protein and calories for growth in adolescents. For most nutrients, recommendations are the same as for adults.

Nutrient needs in adults 19 to 50 years of age differ slightly according to gender. Males require more of vitamins C, K, B1, B2, and B3; choline; magnesium; zinc; chromium; and manganese. Menstruating females require more iron compared with males.

Later Years

Elderly persons generally require fewer calories than younger individuals. Their needs for certain nutrients differ from those of younger adults. For example, in order to reduce the risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures, the elderly require higher amounts of vitamin D (as high as 600 IU/day).

Some elderly persons are unable to achieve adequate nutrition because of difficulty chewing, swallowing, digesting, and absorbing nutrients. While some authorities recommend multiple vitamin-mineral supplements for all elderly persons, supplementation should be used with caution, as too much of certain nutrients (e.g., zinc and iron) can be harmful.

Alcohol intake can be a serious problem in elderly persons. The risks of excess alcohol intake include sleep disorders, interactions with medications, loss of nutrients, and dehydration, particularly in those who take diuretics. Many elderly persons who overuse or abuse alcohol first develop drinking problems after the age of 60.

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