Submitted to: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: November 10, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: The purpose of this review is to examine the dietary fat intake of infants and children in relationship to their energy requirements. Specifically, age- and gender-related changes in the energy requirements for maintenance, physical activity, and growth in relation to dietary fat intake are reviewed. Total energy requirements were estimated from doubly labeled water studies of total energy expenditure (TEE) and the energy cost of growth. Basal metabolic rates (BMR) were measured by calorimetry. Activity energy expenditure and physical activity levels were taken as TEE-BMR and TEE/BMR, respectively. Weight-specific total energy requirements decrease substantially from infancy through adolescence. Weight-specific energy requirements for maintenance and growth change inversely to the increased energy needed for physical activity in healthy, active children. Current recommendations of 30% of energy from dietary fat for children after 2 y of fage are compatible with adequate growth. Lower fat intakes (<30%) may be associated with inadequate intake of vitamins and minerals and increased risk for poor growth. Diets higher in fat may lead to higher energy intakes and higher body fat, although available data are conflicting in children. Beyond infancy, children can meet their energy needs for maintenance, physical activity and growth from a diet providing 30% of energy from fat.