Position Paper on RDA for Protein for Children

  • R. P. Abernathy
  • S. J. Ritchey
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 105)


The Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) by the National Academy of Sciences are revised approximately every five years. The RDA are compromise opinions of highly qualified nutritional scientists based on interpretations of available data. As with any interpretations and opinions not founded on definitive information, they are subject to challenges. The RDA for protein for 7- to 9-year-old children have been adjusted downward from 60 g in 1958 to 36 g in 1974, a 40% reduction. Data from our laboratories have shown positive apparent nitrogen balances on intakes as low as 18 g daily when no allowances were made for integumental and other nitrogen losses, however, based on accumulative data over several years we calculate the protein requirement to be 45 g daily from a typical American diet. If a safety factor of 30% is added the allowance would become 58.5 g. Currently the RDA for protein for the 7- to 10-year-old child supplies 6% of the RDA for Calories which contrasts to 8.30 and 9.20% for adult males and females, respectively. For comparison, energy from protein as a percentage of total energy for some common foods are: white bread, 12%; corn meal 10%; white rice 7%; and wheat flour 13%.


Nitrogen Balance Protein Requirement Recommended Dietary Allowance White Bread Nitrogen Retention 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1978

Authors and Affiliations

  • R. P. Abernathy
    • 1
    • 2
  • S. J. Ritchey
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Purdue UniversityW. LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.VPI & SUBlacksburgUSA

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