Adolescent health and nutritional well-being are increasingly receiving global attention. The article by David Thurnham in the current issue of Sight and Life describes the nutritional status and requirements of adolescent women in low- and middle-income countries. Evidently, a large proportion of adolescents in developing countries are undernourished. Reduced productivity, poor school performance, and adverse reproductive outcomes are well-known consequences of malnutrition in this age group. Importantly, in many developing regions of the world, premature childbearing due to early marriage is common, with potentially adverse consequences to both the health and life of the mother and infant. Poor pre-pregnancy nutritional status, coupled with inadequate intakes of nutrients during pregnancy, may aggravate the depletion of maternal nutritional reserves, resulting in a deprived nutritional status of the pregnant adolescent mothers and the fetus.
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