How Much Protein Should a 7-Year-Old Male Eat?
In this brief guide, we will answer the query “How Much Protein Should a 7-Year-Old Male Eat?” Additionally, we will explore relevant information like the importance of proteins in growth, what are the factors determining protein requirements, and what foods you can choose for children.
How Much Protein Should a 7-Year-Old Male Eat?
A child between 7 and 10 years old (independently girl or boy) should eat 0.9 g protein per kg of weight. However, you always should consider consulting a nutritionist to adjust the adequate and personalized intake of your child (1).
What is the Importance of Protein for Growing Children?
Proteins are essential because they contain amino acids, which are needed for creating tissues, cells (such as immune cells), hormones, muscles, neurotransmitters, and organs (2,3).
Therefore, a proper protein intake is essential for (2,3,4):
- A correct growth and development
- Muscle synthesis and development of strength
- Good bone health
- Prevention of infectious diseases by boosting the immune system
- A correct cognitive development
What are the Possible Consequences of a Low Protein Intake in Children?
A low protein intake may be a cause of short height or poor muscle mass; beyond those negative effects, a severe protein deficiency can affect the whole development of children and even compromise their life (2,3).
For example, because proteins are precursors for immune cells, a protein deficiency can increase the risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory infections (2,3).
Furthermore, protein malnutrition could alter organs’ function such as liver, kidney, and heart. Due to the importance of proteins in muscle development and functioning, a severe and chronic protein deficiency could lead (in an extreme case) to heart failure due to lack of contractions (2,3).
What are the Factors Influencing Protein Requirements in Children?
The protein requirements of children are determined by their sex, age, height, physical activity, and health conditions. If you want to know the exact protein requirements of your child, you must consult a nutrition specialist; he or she will adjust all child’s macronutrients intake (1).
What are Protein-Rich Foods Suitable for 7-Year-Old Children?
The best protein-rich foods for a 7-year-old child are animal-derived foods. For example: milk, dairy products, lean meat, eggs, fish, and poultry (5).
All animal derived proteins are high-quality protein sources. High-quality proteins contain all essential amino acids, these latter are the ones that your body cannot synthesize; thus, you must ingest them through food (5).
Furthermore, milk and dairy products are a source of calcium and vitamin D, which are crucial for good bone health and a strong immune system (6).
Regarding meats, they provide iron and B12 vitamin (cyanocobalamin), these micronutrients are essential for preventing anemia. Anemia is a very common disease, affecting (estimated) about 25 % of the population worldwide; this disease can impair the cognitive development of children and neuromotor skills (7,8).
If you want to vary the protein sources to vegetable-derivative, you can opt for a combination of cereals and legumes. Cereals lack Lysine (one essential amino acid), but they can complement with legumes (which lack Methionine, but contain Lysine) (9).
These are some examples of cereals and legumes:
- Cereals: corn, wheat, rice, oatmeal, rye, barley.
- Legumes: pea, bean, chickpea, lentils.
In this brief guide, we answered the query “How Much Protein Should a 7-Year-Old Male Eat?” Additionally, we explored relevant information like the importance of proteins in growth, what are the factors determining protein requirements, and what foods you can choose for children.
- Richter M, Baerlocher K, Bauer JM, Elmadfa I, Heseker H, Leschik-Bonnet E, et al. Revised reference values for the intake of protein. Annals of Nutrition and Metabolism, 2019;74(3):242-250.
- Otiti MI, Allen SJ. Severe acute malnutrition in low- and middle-income countries. Paediatr Child Health, 2021;31(8):301–7.
- Rodríguez L, Cervantes E, Ortiz R. Malnutrition and gastrointestinal and respiratory infections in children: a public health problem. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 2011;8(4):1174–205.
- Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Military Nutrition Research. Amino acid and protein requirements: Cognitive performance, stress, and brain function. Washington D.C., DC, United States: National Academies Press; 1999.
- Bradbury KE, Tong TYN, Key TJ. Dietary intake of high-protein foods and other major foods in meat-eaters, poultry-eaters, fish-eaters, vegetarians, and vegans in UK Biobank. Nutrients, 2017;9(12):1317.
- Scholz-Ahrens KE, Ahrens F, Barth CA. Nutritional and health attributes of milk and milk imitations. Eur J Nutr, 2020;59(1):19–34.
- Nyaradi A, Li J, Hickling S, Foster J, Oddy WH. The role of nutrition in children’s neurocognitive development, from pregnancy through childhood. Front Hum Neurosci, 2013;7:97.
- Mantadakis E, Chatzimichael E, Zikidou P. Iron deficiency anemia in children residing in high and low-income countries: Risk factors, prevention, diagnosis and therapy. Mediterr J Hematol Infect Dis, 2020;12(1):e2020041.
- Day L. Proteins from land plants – Potential resources for human nutrition and food security. Trends Food Sci Technol, 2013;32(1):25–42.