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Adolescent
The period of transition from childhood to adulthood is called adolescence with accelerated physical, biochemical and emotional development. All the changes that occurs during this period is due to hormonal changes. The growth spurt in boys is slower than that of the girls. Growth velocity is maximum for boys between 12 – 15 years and for girls they attain their adult stature between 18 – 20 yrs but the bone mass continues to increase till the age of 25. Adolescent
 
Nutritional Requirements
Energy: Caloric demands increase with the metabolic demands of growth and energy expenditure. Although individual demands vary but girls consume a little lesser than boys. Sometimes a large appetite is a characteristic of this period leads adolescents to satisfy their hunger with fast foods that are high in fats and sugars and low in protein. Details of the requirements are mentioned in the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA).

Proteins: the protein requirements are high to meet growth and pubertal changes among both of the sexes. First the boys and girls have a similar protein demands but eventually the boys need more protein intake than girls. The pattern is similar in the energy requirement.

Carbohydrates: The carbohydrate intake is usually proportional to the energy intake. 50 -60% of the total energy intake should come from carbohydrates. The source of carbohydrates should be complex carbohydrates like whole grain. The amount of simple sugar intake and refined products should be limited so the intake of candies, chocolates, sugar, carbonated beverages, cakes cookies etc should be limited.

Fats: Fats should be given in the appropriate amounts but the intake of saturated and trans fats should be curbed. This can be done by reducing or avoiding fried food, fast food.

Minerals: Calcium requirement is much higher than adult, because if the bone growth is appropriate at this age the chances of osteoporosis decreases. Iron is needed for blood formation and muscle growth. The iron intake should be adequate for girls as they lose iron during menstruation. Fran Zinc deficiency is not seen in adolescents. But Zinc supplements have been shown to increase pubertal growth I adolescents suffering from pubertal delay

Vitamins: the need for vitamin B increases with calorie demand. For skeletal growth Vitamin D is required, while the structural and functional integrity of newly formed cells requires Vitamin A, C, E.

Dietary Guidelines
  • The food habits of adolescents are influenced by physical appearance, peer pressure
  • Adequate well balanced nutritious food would help prevent undernutrition and obesity
  • No meals of the day should be missed
  • Food should be colourful and attractive
  • Adolescents should be encouraged to practice healthy eating, and avoid fast food and carbonated beverages
  • Food should be rich in vitamins, minerals and proteins
  • Eating habits should be independent of emotions
  • Home based diets are best for children’s growth
  • Adolescents must be encouraged to engage in physical activity or many kind to build strength, endurance and stamina.
Problems commonly found among Adolescents
  • Obesity
  • Anorexia
  • Bulimia
  • Binge eating disorder
  • Predisposition to Osteoporosis
  • Anemia
  • Undernutrition
  • Premenstrual syndrome
 
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