Adolescent Growth and Development

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Adolescence is a time for growth and change. Teenagers need more calories and nutrients than any other age group to support their growing bodies and very active lives. Many teenagers fall short on many important nutrients found in fresh fruits and vegetables. Between school, work, sports, and other activities, teenagers do not have the time to eat balanced meals that provide the proper nutrition that their bodies need. Without guidance, teenagers often make poor choices when it comes to daily meal intake which often leads to becoming overweight. Being overweight will increase the risk for stroke, coronary heart disease, diabetes, certain cancers, and arthritis. Between 1980 and 2002, obesity rates doubled for all Americans. For young people from 12-18 years of age, their overweight status rose from 5% to 16% over a 25 year period. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (N.H.A.N.E.S) found that African Americans and Mexican American adolescents ages 12-19 were more likely to be overweight, at 21% and 23% respectively, than Non-Hispanic White adolescence at 14% . It is up to the parents to set examples of healthier eating habits to prevent health problems later on in a child’s life. Parents can make sure their teens get the amount of calories they need by: •Providing them with a variety of nutrient rich foods from all the different food groups •Limiting foods that are high in added sugar or fat, but provide little else (e.g. candy, chips, cookies, donuts, and soda) •Serving reasonable portion sizes (serving too much food at one time encourages overeating ) Most adolescents fall short of some of the following vitamins and minerals: •Calcium for strong bones and teeth

Folate, important for proper growth
Iron necessary for transporting red blood cells
Vitamin A for proper vision, growth, and immune system functioning •Vitamin D for the body to use the calcium that is consumed •Vitamin E helps protect the body from damage
Magnesium...
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