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Plant fiber intake in the pediatric diet

, : Plant fiber intake in the pediatric diet. Pediatrics 67(4): 572-575

Epidemiological studies suggest that increasing dietary fiber from plant foods might prevent diseases common in Western developed nations, including colon cancer, diverticulosis, irritable bowel, obesity and coronary heart disease. These diseases require years to develop, and surveys indicate that fiber intakes in children are low. Yet pediatricians have refrained from recommending increased fiber intake in the diets of children. Since the caloric density of high fiber foods is low, the small stomach capacity of children could prevent children eating these foods from ingesting adequate calories. Dietary fiber may also adversely affect mineral absorption, and mineral deficiency could result in children consuming increased amounts of fiber. Enough fiber should be eaten to ensure normal laxation; whole grain cereals, breads, fruits and vegetables should be a part of all children's diets. But a diet stressing high-fiber, low-calorie foods which excludes other food groups could be harmful.


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