Nutrient Reference Values And Australian Dietary Guidelines Essay

Nutrient Reference Values And Australian Dietary Guidelines Essay

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This essay addresses the use of nutrient reference values and Australian dietary guidelines to meet the nutritional challenges of girls aged 9-13 years. This time period is both biologically and socially significant as it includes the movement of childhood into adolescence. The female adolescent growth spurt occurs between the ages of 10 or 11 and continues for about 2 and a half years, as a result of this growth period energy and nutrition needs are very high (Whitney 2014, p.538). Some girls also commence menstruation at this time (Grieger et al. 2012, p. 75). Girls also develop secondary sexual characteristics such as the growth of sexual organs including breasts and long bones grow and mature (Nutrition for Normal Growth and Development 2011). Females experience a greater gain of body fat during adolescence especially in the pelvic region and breasts which assisting in preparing the body with important energy reserve for future pregnancy and lactation (Langley-Evans 2009, p.145). This is also a time when many girls gain a certain amount of independence with pocket money to spend and friends who may influence their food choices. Many girls are influenced by the media and friends regarding appearance and may restrict their energy intake through dieting to lose weight.
Carbohydrates are found in grains, legumes, fruit and root veg, milk products and sweets. They are catabolized to produce energy in the form of glucose which can be used immediately and stored as glycogen, an important energy storage source for the body especially the brain which is critical in this age group (Whitney 2014, pp. 86-87). No nutrient reference values have been set for this age group due to a lack of data (ANHMRC p. 43).
Protein has many roles in the...

... middle of paper ...

...n consumed which may not be as well absorbed in the body (ANHMRC 2005 p. 187). If Iron intake is inadequate iron deficiency occurs which is recognized by low serum ferritin. Physically, fatigue loss of cognitive function and apathy may occur (Whitney 2014 pp. 417-418).
While it is important to be guided by the nutrient reference values and Australian dietary guidelines to ensure adequate macronutrient and micronutrient intakes, some values are not listed due to insufficient evidence which may be problematic when attempting to meet nutritional needs. The absorbability and bioavailability of nutrients need to be taken into consideration along with dietary preferences, food intolerances, and rate of growth as the adolescent growth spurt and the onset of menarche may occur earlier for some girls increasing their need for nutrients sooner than others in this age group.

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