Adolescent Growth Spurt – The Final Window of Opportunity
Puberty begins in early adolescence, marking the start of a period of tremendous physical changes. Growth in 10 –15 -year-olds accounts for 80% of all adolescent growth1.
The growth that one experiences during this period sets the stage for adulthood, thus representing the final window of opportunity to influence growth and development in the lifecycle.
Adolescent is defined as a person
between 10-19 years of age2.
Did You Know? (Click to expand)
Up to 20% of total height and 45% of adult bone mass are achieved during adolescence1?
Teen Nutrition Matters – Up to 2x* Key Nutrients Are Required During Growth Spurt Period
Nutritional requirements may increase up to 2x* during adolescence, compared to before puberty. This is due to the greater demand for energy and key nutrients to support the dramatic increase in growth during adolescence.
Good nutrition is critical to optimise growth (Click to expand)
It is important for teens to consume adequate energy and macronutrients, as well as a comprehensive spectrum of micronutrients. This means having a balanced and varied diet, comprising nutrient-dense foods and beverages. Some key nutrients critical to support growth include:
Protein: Protein helps in tissue building and growth Bone health Calcium & Vitamin D: Calcium helps development of strong bones; Vitamin D helps support calcium absorption and improves bone strength Energy &
Energy: Adequate energy supports normal growth
Vitamin A, Vitamin B1-12, Vitamin C, Iron & Folate: Contribute to the normal function of the immune system
Good nutrition during adolescence may also help to address nutritional deficits that may have accumulated during the first decade of life, and potentially provides another opportunity for catch-up growth#. Since this is also a time when identities, values and attitudes are formed, it offers a unique chance to shape healthy and long-lasting dietary practices to help limit the onset of chronic diseases in adulthood.
Food Battles With Your Teens? Nutritional gaps may occur due to poor dietary habits or busy lifestyle (Click to expand)1 in 3
- skipped breakfast3
- teens dieted3
- eats out for all 3 meals4
Teenagers have busy lives juggling school, co-curricular and social activities. There is also increasing financial independence and a desire for autonomy when making food choices; at the same time, there is a strong tendency to seek acceptance within a peer group and/or increased obsession with body image, which can all influence food intake. Hence, it is not uncommon for adolescents to have poor dietary habits, such as irregular meals and habitually snack on unhealthy foods.
Do Not Miss Out On The Last Growth Spurt Window
Fight the food battles right – Tips to improve dietary habits (Click to expand)
Getting your teen to eat healthily doesn't mean asking them to give up on all their favorite foods. It simply means feeding them a variety of foods across food groups and reducing the quantity and frequency of food or beverages high in fat and sugar, such as soft drinks, cookies, cakes and deep-fried food. Some tips to improve dietary habits include:
- Make breakfast a habit – Skipping breakfast affects energy levels for the rest of the day
- Make family mealtime a priority – Being the right role model for your teens is the first step to helping them establish healthy eating habits
- Get teens involved in meal planning to give them a sense of ownership
- Start small but make progressive changes – Start by making one swap at a time – replacing a nutrient poor choice with nutrient dense food or beverage
Consider the use of a complete, balanced oral nutritional supplement (Click to expand)
Oral nutrition supplements may help adolescents to plug nutritional gaps (e.g. for those with poor appetite), replace unhealthy food or drink options, or support an active lifestyle The ideal supplement for your teen should be tailored to meet the increased needs for key nutrients during the period of accelerated growth. A complete, balanced oral nutritional supplement that supplies a wide range of micronutrients would be more advantageous than conventional beverages which tend to be less nutrient dense.
1.Campisi S et al. Innocenti Working Papers no. 2018-12, UNICEF Office of Research - Innocenti, Florence
2.World Health Organization: Adolescent Health. Accessed 28 July 2021. Link: Adolescent health (who.int)
3.Ang, K. L. et al. Health Education.2002.102(5), 239-248.
4.Lew K et al. Singapore Med J. 2005 Jun;46(6):282-8. PMID: 15902356.
*For Protein, Vit A, Iron and Vit C for teenagers (13-18 years) compared with children (7-12 years) based on the Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for normal healthy persons in Singapore (Children & Adolescents).
#Potential for catch-up growth during adolescence varies between individuals. This can be influenced by different factors including nutrition and health status, physical activity, genes, and hormones.