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Nutrition of Adolescent Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries

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Adolescence during the teenage years of 13 to 19 is a time of dramatic change. The process of physically developing fr om a child to an adult is called puberty, but the chronological age provides only a rough marker of the stage of puberty. Before puberty, children in developed countries grow approximately 50−70 mm a year and gain around 2.5 kg a year. Adolescence is the only time in life besides the critical window of the first 1,000 days (−9 to 24 months) when the velocity of growth actually increases. Nearly 45% of maximum skeletal mass and 15% of adult height are gained during adolescence.1 Children in the developing world also undergo the same changes, although many enter adolescence thin and stunted through malnutrition and infections during infancy and childhood, which may delay or extend the period of pubertal changes, thus enabling more time for growth to catch up.2 However, for many girls the opportunity to benefi t fr om the altered physiological state is curtailed by early pregnancy. Recommended nutrient intakes (RNI) are targeted at healthy, normally developing adolescent children living in clean environments. Are the RNI adequate for malnourished children entering adolescence? Do the RNI need to be modifi ed for girls who marry and become pregnant before they have reached physical maturity themselves? This commentary will address some of the problems posed by malnutrition and early marriage inlow- and middle-income countries in South Asia and Africa.

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Key Details

Year 2013
Authors David I Thurnham
Language English
Keywords
DOI https://doi.org/10.52439/PVYL5031
DOI Number 10.52439/PVYL5031
ISBN
ISSN

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