How much fibre does my child need to eat each day?
Fibre is an important nutrient for children and adolescents, but all mums know that it can be a struggle to ensure children eat well.
Most research shows people don't eat enough fibre in their diet, and the recommended fibre intake does vary with gender and age.
The following points explain how many grams of fibre per day children, adolescents and adults should consume:
- Boys and girls aged 1-3, 14 grams per day
- Boys and girls aged 4-8, 18 grams per day
- Boys aged 9-13, 24 grams per day
- Boys aged 14-18, 28 grams per day
- Girls aged 9-13, 20 grams per day
- Girls aged 14-18, 22 grams per day
Why is fibre important for family health?
Unfortunately, most Australians only get about two-thirds of the daily fibre they need, and many people are unsure which foods can help boost their daily dose of fibre. According to the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) increasing fibre intake even further than the recommended daily intake may reduce the risk of developing chronic disease (such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes). And if you get this added fibre by adding extra legumes, fruit and vegies to your diet, you will also increase your intake of antioxidant vitamins and folate, further improving the health benefits.
6 other benefits of fibre:
1. Maintains digestive health and regularity
Fibre, especially insoluble fibre and resistant starch, helps to maintain bowel regularity and relieve or prevent constipation. Fibre also helps to maintain the ‘friendly’ bowel bacteria that are important to maintain a healthy digestive system.
2. Enhances satiety
Foods rich in fibre, especially soluble fibre, are more satisfying. Fibre helps to delay the rate of digestion and absorption, which helps to reduce food intake at meal times and to reduce hunger levels between meals.
3. Helps reduce the risk of bowel cancer
Fibre is broken down by ‘friendly’ bowel bacteria to produce butyrate, which plays a role in protecting against cancer development. Many studies also show that people consuming high fibre diets are less likely to develop bowel cancer.
4. Helps lower blood cholesterol
When consumed as part of a low fat diet, soluble fibre helps reduce cholesterol levels by increasing the removal of bile acids (made from cholesterol) from the body. This may therefore help to reduce the risk of heart disease.
5. Helps people with diabetes to control blood sugar levels
Soluble fibre helps slow the release of glucose from carbohydrate foods into the bloodstream, which helps to control blood sugar levels.
6. Avoids disease and disorders associated with a low fibre diet
The following complications can be the long term result of not consuming enough fibre:
- Constipation - small, hard and dry faecal matter that is difficult to pass.
- Haemorrhoids - varicose veins of the anus.
- Diverticulitis - small hernias of the digestive tract caused by long term constipation.
- Irritable bowel syndrome - pain, flatulence and bloating of the abdomen.
- Overweight and obesity - carrying too much body fat.
- Coronary heart disease - a narrowing of the arteries due to fatty deposits.
- Diabetes - a condition characterised by too much glucose in the blood.
- Colon cancer - cancer of the large intestine.
Read more about kids' nutrition
- The a-z of vitamins and minerals
- Learn about the glycaemic Index
- Healthy food pyramid
- Iron and kids
- Calcium and kids
- Exercise for kids health
- Health and fitness for kids
- Nutrition information panels
- Eating for peak school performance
- Picky eaters
- How much fibre does my child need?
- Why fibre is fabulous
- All about fibre
Ready Set Learn
This article was supplied by the team of Nutritionists at Kellogg's for Kidspot, New Zealand’s leading education resource for parents.