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- American Heart Association: Daily Recommendations for Healthy Children
- American Heart Association: Know Your Fats
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The recommended fat intake for children is based on a combination of factors. It's not only influenced by your child's age, since the need for dietary fat decreases as people grow older, but also her caloric consumption. A certain percentage of your child's daily caloric intake can come from dietary fat.
Total Fat Intake
The American Heart Association recommends that from the ages of 2 to 3 only 30 to 35 percent of your child's daily calories come from fat 14. And since a single gram of fat is equivalent to 9 calories, a 1,300-calorie diet can consist of 43 to 50 g of dietary fat. After the age of 3, your child's total fat intake decreases slightly to anywhere between 25 and 35 percent of his daily caloric intake. In a diet containing 1,500 calories, your child can consume 41 to 58 g of dietary fat each day.
Saturated Fat Intake
Total fat intake isn't the only concern in a child's diet. You also need to watch her intake of saturated fat. According to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, no more than 10 percent of your child's daily calories should come from saturated fat, regardless of age or gender 23. In a 1,300-calorie diet, that's 14 or fewer grams of saturated fat. A diet made up of 1,500 calories can consist of no more than 16 g of saturated fat.
Trans Fat Intake
Besides total fat and saturated fat, it's important to monitor your child's intake of trans-fatty acids, or trans fat. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services urges you to keep trans fat intake as low as possible 23. However, the American Heart Association asserts that no more than 1 percent of your total calories come from this type of fat 4. This means that your child should eat less than 1.4 g of trans fat on a 1,300-calorie diet and less than 1.6 g on a 1,500-calorie diet.
Sources of Fat
With total fat intake, this fat should consist of mostly healthy fats, such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These types of fats are predominantly found in trout, salmon, herring, avocados, walnuts, olives, edamame and vegetable oils, explains the American Heart Association 4.
Since fat intake is based on calories, it's important to touch on these recommendations as well. On average, children between the ages of 2 and 3 can have 1,000 to 1,400 calories a day. Depending on activity level, girls between the ages of 4 to 8 can have 1,200 to 1,800 calories, while boys within the same age range can have 1,400 to 2,000. Talk to your doctor to determine exactly how many calories is healthy for your child.
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