Adolescent Nutrition

It is the transition period between childhood and adulthood, and a time of life that begins at puberty. Puberty typically occurs between ages 12 and 13 for girls, while for boys, it occurs between ages 14 and 15. Adolescence is one of the fastest growth periods of a person’s life. During this time, numerous body changes occurred due to increased level of hormones. Nutritional health at this stage very is important for supporting the growing body and for preventing future health problems. During puberty, there is an increased demand for energy, protein, minerals, and vitamins due to intense growth.

Additional calories are required to provide energy for growth and activity. Adolescent boys ages 11 to 18 need between 2,500 and 2,800 calories each day, and approximately 2,200 calories for girls. Teens should eat a variety of healthful foods to obtain these calorie needs, such as lean protein sources, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.

Adolescents need between 45 and 60 grams of protein each day for growth and maintenance of muscle. Protein is available in beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and dairy products, and also from certain vegetable sources, including tofu and other soy foods, beans, and nuts.

During adolescence, about 150 mg of calcium must be retained each day to allow for the increase in bone mass. Female adolescents need higher iron of 15 milligrams each day than boys of 12 milligrams. Iron is required for haemoglobin synthesis and is crucial for expansion of blood volume and for myoglobin needed for muscle growth. As female adolescents lose 0.5 mg of iron per day by way of menstruation, Anaemia and iron deficiency is inclined if this lost iron is not replaced. Beef, chicken, pork, legumes, enriched or whole grains, and leafy green vegetables such as spinach, collards are good sources of iron.

Adolescents need plenty of vitamins during their growth spurt. The requirement of B1 (thaimin), vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and vitamin B3 (niacin) rises with increased caloric intake. B-Complex Vitamin is present in whole cereal and pulses, fruits & vegetable. Vitamin C is found in citrus fruits & fresh leafy vegetables. Vitamin A, needed for good vision, is available in green leafy vegetables like spinach, bathua methi etc, and yellow or orange fruits like papaya, mango. Vitamins D, E, K are necessitated for healthy bones, teeth & clotting of blood.