6.1.7 Nutritional Needs by Age

A client who is 1 year-old and 18 pounds in weight will not need the same amount of nutrients as a 90 year-old weighing 160 pounds. The caloric needs for a child of 1 year of age will be 1000-1200 per day. The caloric needs of a 90 year-old woman would be 1590 calories per day. Yes, they both need vitamins and minerals, but they will need different vitamins and minerals and in different amounts to help their bodies with the tasks they need to complete.

A mother and daughter baking meringues together
Although they will both enjoy these meringues, this mother and her daughter will have different calorie needs.

As you saw in this example, the amount of nutrients and the number of calories required each day will depend on the client’s age, weight, gender, activity, health or disease status.  For example, a female of 20 years, who weighs 130 pounds, and engages in moderate activity, with no underlining stressful disease or illness, would need 2050 calories per day.  According to the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, a woman of the same age and weight who is recovering from surgery would need 15-20 calories per lb. of body weight, which would calculate to 2600 calories.

Practice Makes Perfect

Complete the following two exercises to explore this topic:

  1. The “Food and Your Life Stages” webpage will provide more information regarding the needed nutrients for each age group. Using this information, can you describe the differences between the adolescent and the elder nutrition needs?
  2. Try using the Mayo Clinic Calorie Calculator for yourself now. How many calories do you need each day? If possible, compile a record of everyone in your family including yourself. Are they receiving the needed nutrients and calories? What type of calories are they receiving?

Consider bookmarking these two online resources so that you can look up appropriate caloric and nutritional guidance for your clients.

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