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Nutrition Needs During Adulthood

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  • 0:01 Nutritional Needs
  • 1:04 Adult…
  • 1:35 Dietary…
  • 3:35 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Donna Ricketts

Donna Ricketts is a health educator with 15 years of professional experience designing health and wellness programs for adults and children.

In this lesson, you will learn about nutritional requirements during adulthood. You will also gain an understanding of nutrition-related concerns facing grown-ups, as well as daily dietary recommendations for adults.

Nutritional Needs

By the time you reach adulthood, 19-50, the majority of your growth and development will be complete. This means your focus, with regards to nutritional needs, can now shift to maintaining a healthy and active lifestyle and preventing diet-related health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.

Consuming adequate amounts of essential vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates, fiber and protein, while limiting unhealthy fats, processed foods and added sugar, is just as important at this stage of life as it is during childhood. Overall, a healthy diet that incorporates whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein and nonfat and low-fat dairy products should meet all of an adult's nutritional needs.

Adult Nutrition-Related Concerns

For adults, weight management can be a major nutrition-related concern and a key factor in achieving health and wellness. In order to remain healthy, adults must be aware of changes in their energy needs, based on their level of physical activity, and then balance their calorie intake as needed. Adults who are active in sports or other physical activities may require more calories than adults who are less active.

Dietary Recommendations for Adults

Caloric intake for adult women should be 1,800 to 2,200 calories a day and adult men should consume 2,200 to 2,800 calories depending on age and activity level. It is recommended that adults consume anywhere from 45%-65% carbohydrates, 10%-35% protein and 20%-35% of total fat, while saturated fat should be less than 10% of daily calories. You should avoid trans fats when possible, while choosing healthier fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Foods that include these types of fats would be nuts, seeds, fish and vegetable oils. Cholesterol intake should be less than 300 mg per day.

Here are the daily dietary recommendations for adults:

  • Fruits: 2 cups per day
  • Vegetables: 2 ½ cups per day
  • Dairy: 3 cups per day
  • Grains: 6 ounces per day
  • Meats and beans: 6 ounces per day
  • Unhealthy fats & sweets - Limit as much as possible

In addition, adult males require more of vitamins C, K, B1, B2, B3 and zinc, while women require more iron. Furthermore, pregnant women should increase their diet by 300 calories per day starting in the second trimester, while lactating women should add an additional 500 calories a day to their typical pre-pregnancy diet. Both pregnant and lactating women should make sure they consume adequate amounts of folic acid, iron and zinc.

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