Fat

Fat contributes more than 50% of the energy intake in infants and is necessary to deliver the infant's high energy requirement in a small volume. Fat continues to be important during the first and second years of life because of the relatively high energy requirements per unit of weight. The United Kingdom, United States/Canada, and FAO/WHO do not recommend a specific fat:energy ratio for young children; some countries allow for higher fat intakes in young children, whereas other European countries suggest 25-30% energy from fat from the age of 2 years. Guidance on the intakes of fatty acids varies considerably throughout the world, and there are considerable differences in the way that recommendations are expressed where they do exist. Saturated fatty acids, where recommendations exist, are usually limited to a maximum of 10% total energy intake. For polyunsaturated fatty acids, recommendations for children are similar to those for adults

(5-10% of energy intake), except for infants, for whom a higher percentage is often deemed desirable, similar to quantities in breast milk. Many countries do not make a recommendation for omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Where recommendations exist, they are usually the same as for adults: 2-4% and 0.5% of total energy intake for omega-6 and omega-3, respectively. Some authorities recommend a ratio of <5:1 omega-6:omega-3 for adult intakes, but it is unclear whether this recommendation is appropriate for children.

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