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Nutritional Requirements Throughout the Life Cycle: Adolescence and Adulthood

The Institute of Medicine recommends higher intakes of protein and energy for growth in the adolescent population. For most micronutrients, recommendations are the same as for adults. Exceptions are made for certain minerals needed for bone growth (eg, calcium and phosphorus).38 However, these recommendations are controversial, given the lack of evidence that higher intakes are an absolute requirement for bone growth. Evidence is clearer that bone calcium accretion increases as a result of exercise rather than from increases in calcium intake.39 Since weight gain and atherosclerosis often begin during these years, adolescents and young adults must establish healthy eating and lifestyle habits that reduce the risk for chronic disease later in life.

Micronutrient 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 of similar age.

 

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