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Dietary Protein Requirements in Children: Methods for Consideration

Department of Pediatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA
Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA
Arkansas Children’s Research Institute, Little Rock, AR 72202, USA
Center for Human Nutrition, Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, Fayetteville, AR 72704, USA
Reynolds Institute on Aging, Department of Geriatrics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Shanon L. Casperson
Nutrients 2021, 13(5), 1554;
Received: 10 March 2021 / Revised: 20 April 2021 / Accepted: 29 April 2021 / Published: 5 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutritional Considerations for Skeletal Muscle in Health and Disease)
The current protein requirement estimates in children were largely determined from studies using the nitrogen balance technique, which has been criticized for potentially underestimating protein needs. Indeed, recent advances in stable isotope techniques suggests protein requirement as much as 60% higher than current recommendations. Furthermore, there is not a separate recommendation for children who engage in higher levels of physical activity. The current evidence suggests that physical activity increases protein requirements to support accretion of lean body masses from adaptations to exercise. The indicator amino acid oxidation and the 15N-end product methods represent alternatives to the nitrogen balance technique for estimating protein requirements. Several newer methods, such as the virtual biopsy approach and 2H3-creatine dilution method could also be deployed to inform about pediatric protein requirements, although their validity and reproducibility is still under investigation. Based on the current evidence, the Dietary Reference Intakes for protein indicate that children 4–13 years and 14–18 years require 0.95 and 0.85 g·kg−1·day−1, respectively, based on the classic nitrogen balance technique. There are not enough published data to overturn these estimates; however, this is a much-needed area of research. View Full-Text
Keywords: adolescents; muscle; fitness; amino acids adolescents; muscle; fitness; amino acids
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MDPI and ACS Style

Hudson, J.L.; Baum, J.I.; Diaz, E.C.; Børsheim, E. Dietary Protein Requirements in Children: Methods for Consideration. Nutrients 2021, 13, 1554.

AMA Style

Hudson JL, Baum JI, Diaz EC, Børsheim E. Dietary Protein Requirements in Children: Methods for Consideration. Nutrients. 2021; 13(5):1554.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Hudson, Joshua L., Jamie I. Baum, Eva C. Diaz, and Elisabet Børsheim. 2021. "Dietary Protein Requirements in Children: Methods for Consideration" Nutrients 13, no. 5: 1554.

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