June 1981

Diets for Children and Adolescents: How Much Protein?

Author Affiliations

The Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital Cooperstown, NY 13326

Am J Dis Child. 1981;135(6):578-579. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1981.02130300076031

Sir.—The diet proposed by Dr Dwyer in her review article (Journal 1980;134:1073-1080) contains too much protein, which may pose risks at least as great as those from the fat, sugar, and salt she is trying to minimize. The Food and Agriculture Organization-World Health Organization expert committee suggests that a normal 8-year-old child in an industrial nation needs no more than 31 g of protein daily.1 For 14-year-old girls and boys, the figures are 39 and 46 g, respectively. These figures are set 30% higher than average requirements, to account for persons with above-average needs, and represent a still greater excess for those whose needs are below average. Therefore, Dr Dwyer's daily diet, with 132 g, contains three to six times the protein most children require.

Excessive intake of protein during pregnancy and the newborn period is associated with prematurity and increased perinatal mortality.2-4 Surviving neonates given high-protein

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