Thursday, July 19, 2012

Myth: The fiber recommendation is the same for adults as it is for children.

Answer: BUSTED!

Dietary fiber is important for proper bowel function. It can reduce symptoms of chronic constipation, diverticular disease and hemorrhoids, and may lower the risk for heart disease and some cancers. The recommended dietary fiber intake for adults generally ranges between 20 to 35 grams per day. Although children benefit from a balance of fiber in their diet, they require less than adults. For children, ages 3 to 18, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that a child's age plus five equals the grams of dietary fiber he or she should eat daily. For example, a 3-year-old needs eight grams of fiber each day.

For infants and children under the age of 2 years, no recommended daily dietary fiber intakes have been established. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests introducing a variety of fruits, vegetables and easily digested cereals, along with adequate fluid levels, as solid foods are introduced into the child's diet.

Keep in mind that sometimes fiber can cause discomfort, so avoid adding too much too quickly. Add fiber gradually and slowly over time. It is important to drink extra liquids, such as water or milk, when increasing dietary fiber.

fruits, vegetables and whole grains
Fruits, vegetables and whole grains are good sources of fiber

Additional nutrition information can be found at:

Contributor: Maude Harris, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, University of Missouri Extension,, 573.545.3516

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