Period of adolescence is a stage characterized by rapid increase in weight and height, sexual maturation, hormonal changes and wide swings in emotion. Adolescent growth period starts at about 10-12 years in girls. Annual peak rates for height and weight are 9-10 cm and 8-10 kg. The development of critical bone mass is essential during this period as this sets the ground for the maintenance of mineral integrity of the bone for the later life.
The proportion and pattern of various body components like muscle mass, body water, fat and bone increase during the adolescence to reach adult values by about 18 years. Adolescent girls are at greater physiological stress because of menstruation their nutritional requirements are of particular importance as they have to gear up for motherhood. These rapid anabolic changes lead to the requirement of more nutrients per unit body weight.
The increased rate of growth and activity during this stage puts additional demand for energy which varies as per the body size, level of activity. For girls the range begins from approximately 2000 calories at about 10-12 years and then increases. This stage is characterized by rapid increase in weight and height, sexual maturation, hormonal changes and wide swings in emotion.
Diet and calories intake recommendations:
As adolescents require more calcium as they are growing, the recommended dietary allowance for calcium is about 600-800 mg/day, it is advised to provide higher quantities of calcium for adolescents in order to achieve high peak bone mass.
For optimal peak bone mass, it is advised to consume calcium rich foods like fox tail millet (Ragi), til, milk and milk products etc. Adolescents should consume plenty of milk to fulfil the high calcium requirements.
Consumption of 25-50 gms of cooking oils/ghee is advised. Overindulgence in fats should be avoided.
Excessive salt intake should be avoided in particularly by children who have a family history of hypertension.
Adolescence is a vulnerable stage for developing bad habits like drinking alcohol, smoking or chewing tobacco as well as wrong food habits, these surely should be avoided.
Along with the consumption of a nutritious and rightly well balanced diet, suitable lifestyle habits and involvement in physical activity such as sports and games should be encouraged among adolescents.