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Improving the Diet and Eating Practices of Adolescent Girls

An Overlooked Window of Opportunity

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Currently, there are 500 million adolescent girls living in low- and middle-income countries who are especially vulnerable to the effects of undernutrition. This stage of life is crucial for physical and intellectual growth - girls achieve almost half of their skeletal growth and have the opportunity to acquire the capabilities essential for later parenthood and employment during the adolescent years. Additionally, adequate adolescent nutrition underpins maternal nutrition. It is therefore essential antecedent of healthy growth in utero and ultimately protective against early childhood stunting.

Yet, global nutrition efforts have focused much of their attention on the 1,000 days between the beginning of a woman’s pregnancy and her child’s second birthday, with little or no attention to the nutritional requirements or challenges prior to pregnancy. Programs targeting adolescents have rarely addressed their diet and eating practices, and adolescent girls have been largely ignored in nutrition programming.

In this webinar, SPRING, with other global experts and implementers, explored the unique physiological and sociological needs of adolescents, presented the current status of nutrition among adolescent girls, and made the case for increasing the priority given to this population within policies and programs.

We heard from George Patton, Professor of Adolescent Health Research at the University of Melbourne and lead author of the recent Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing; Parul Christian, Women’s Nutrition Senior Program Officer at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; and Luz Maria De-Regil, Director of Research and Evaluation at the Micronutrient Initiative.

Introduction to Improving the Diet and Eating Practices of Adolescent Girls (PDF, 2.5 MB)

Why Focus on Adolescent Health and Wellbeing? (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Investing in Adolescent Girls' Nutrition: A Second Window of Opportunity (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Nutritional Status of Adolescent Girls: Guidelines and Practices to Address Malnutrition (PDF, 1.5 MB)