Why is Protein Important For Kids’ Growth?

Protein is one of the vital macronutrients involve in child growth and development. Unfortunately, a
survey has shown one in seven children does not meet their daily protein intake recommendation. [1]

Lack of protein intake from the diet may affect child growth, and those groups will tend to be much
smaller for their age group. Worry not, there are a few changes that can be done to improve overall
protein intake.

Growth and Protein
Protein is important for body function, such as recovery, immunity, growth, enzyme and hormone
function. [2]

Protein deficiency in children may result in a few health issues, such as: [3]
Poor concentration
Slowed growth
Bone and joint pain
Delayed healing
Decreased immune response

Protein Recommendations
In the WHO Expert Consultation report, maintenance requirement for children and adolescents was
estimated at 0.63 g/kg/day. Based on the recommendation, the Recommended Nutrient Intake for
protein has been calculated and summarized below. [4]

RNI for children
1-3 years 12g/day
4-6 years 16g/day
7-9 years 23g/day

RNI for adolescents
10-12 years 30g/day
13-15 years 45g/day
16-18 years 23g/day

10-12 years 31g/day
13-15 years 42g/day
16-18 years 42g/day

Sources for Kids
Kids can be picky eaters, and a survey has shown snacks can make up about 30% of children calories.
Snacks are often low in nutrition and lack protein. Yet, there are plenty of great options for adding
protein. One of the easiest forms of protein available is milk. Milk is very nutritious and high in protein.
Some may suffer from lactose intolerance; a dairy-free protein source is recommended. Pea protein
drinks is usually a great choice
as it is dairy-free, lactose free and hypoallergenic. [5]

Meeting the recommended protein intake is vital for child growth and development. Thus, ensuring your
kids receive enough protein daily, is important for a healthy future.


  1. Data on File, April 2018. Abbott Nutrition. NHANES data analysis. 1 in 7 school-aged kids defined as 6-13 years. National Academies of Science's RDA for protein ranges from 13-34g daily in children.
  2. Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, et al. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 4th edition. New York: Garland Science; 2002. Protein Function. Available from:https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK26911/
  3. Z.A. Bhutta, K. S. (2013). Protein Deficiency,. Encyclopedia of Human Nutrition (Third Edition), 111-115 https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-375083-9.00239-7
  4. Energy and protein requirements. Report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU Expert Consultation. (1985). World Health Organization technical report series, 724, 1–206.
  5. Ge, J., Sun, C. X., Corke, H., Gul, K., Gan, R. Y., & Fang, Y. (2020). The health benefits, functional properties, modifications, and applications of pea (Pisum sativum L.) protein: Current status, challenges, and perspectives. Comprehensive reviews in food science and food safety, 19(4), 1835–1876. https://doi.org/10.1111/1541-4337.12573