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    EU delegation calls on Sampanthan

    A special delegation of the European Union called on Tamil National Alliance Leader Parliamentarian R.Sampanthan and held discussion. Sampanthan briefed them of the problems of the Tamils and the need to enact a new constitution for Tamils to live as equals in the island.
  • Alice Wells at St.Anthony’s shrine in Kochchikade

    Alice Wells at St.Anthony’s shrine in Kochchikade

    The US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Alice Wells visited the St. Anthony's Shrine in Kochchikade, one of the churches bombed by Muslim extremists on April 21, and laid a wreath in remembrance of the victims.
  • Rajitha hands over 20 endoscopy machines to hospitals

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    Health Minister Dr.Rajitha Senaratne handed over 20 endoscopy machines to authorities to be distributed to various hospitals in the island at a ceremony held recently. Health Services Director Dr.Anil Jayasinghe and Health Ministry Secretary Wasantha Perera were also present.
  • Ranil graces opening of Green Valley Apartment Complex in Kaduwela

    Ranil graces opening of Green Valley Apartment Complex in Kaduwela

    Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe graced the ceremony held to mark the opening of the Green Valley apartment complex in Ranala Kaduwala on Sunday as its Chief Guest.
  • Our next president will be one selected democratically by the UNP: Mangala

    Our next president will be one selected democratically by the UNP: Mangala

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  • Rajapaksa’s with new party, new slogans are the same - a Kobeyya will never be an eagle: Ranil

    Rajapaksa’s with new party, new slogans are the same - a Kobeyya will never be an eagle: Ranil

    Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Sunday has charged that even though the Rajapaksa family was attempting to return to power with a new party, new candidate, and new slogans, voters must understand that “a kobeyya (dove), whether it is fried or cooked in milk, is still a kobeyya, and will never be a rajaaliya (eagle).”
  • I will make Sri Lanka a peaceful, secure, safe country: Gotabaya in his maiden address

    I will make Sri Lanka a peaceful, secure, safe country: Gotabaya in his maiden address

    Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Presidential candidate has observed that if entrusted with the stewardship of this country by the people, his first task would be to ensure complete safety and security throughout the nation. He had complete confidence that we would once again be able to make Sri Lanka one of the most peaceful, secure, and safe countries in the world. He would accept responsibility for people’s safety, and the safety of children and loved ones.
  • Gotabaya is SLPP’s Presidential candidate: Mahinda announces

    Gotabaya is SLPP’s Presidential candidate: Mahinda announces

    Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna Leader Mahinda Rajapakse has announced that former Defence Secretary Gotabaya Rajapaksa would be the Presidential candidate of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna.
  • US Assistant Secretary Alice Wells calls on Mahinda

    US Assistant Secretary Alice Wells calls on Mahinda

    United States Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Alice Wells called on Opposition Leader Mahinda Rajapaksa at his official residence in Wijerama on Sunday morning, August 11 and held discussions. She is currently on a regional tour visiting India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • SLPP leadership handed to Mahinda Rajapaksa

    SLPP leadership handed to Mahinda Rajapaksa

    The Leadership of the Sri Lanka Podujana Peramuna (SLPP) has been handed to the Opposition Mahinda Rajapaksa at its National Convention held at the Sugathathasa Indoor Stadium today, Sunday, August 11.
  • Govt plans to sign agreements violating the constitution: Dinesh charges

    Govt plans to sign agreements violating the constitution: Dinesh charges

    Joint Opposition Parliamentarian MEP Leader Dinesh Gunawardena has charged that the government was entering into international agreements detrimental to the country and in violation of the constitution.
  • Navin Dissanayake at Naga Vihara

    Navin Dissanayake at Naga Vihara

    Plantation Minister Navin Eranjan Dissanayake visited Yarl Naga Vihara on Saturday, August 10 during his visit to Jaffna.


          What doesit mean to Adolescents?

- By Miss. Lukshna. Rajanayagam
  Department of Applied Nutrition,
  Faculty of Livestock, Fisheries and Nutrition,
  Wayamba University of Sri Lanka.

Adolescence is the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. According to World Health Organization (WHO) it is the period of life between 10 and 19 years. This is the vulnerable stage of life that is dominant by the physiological processes leading to puberty, which are accompanied by rapid growth and maturation. Alongside these biological processes, there are physiological changes as the child attains the capacity for cognitive processes and acquire the ability to take on adult responsibilities. The phenomenal growth that occurs in adolescence, second only to that in the first year of life, creates increased demands for energy and nutrients.

Good nutrition during adolescence is critical to cover the deficits suffered during childhood and should include nutrients required to meet the demand of physical and cognitive growth and development, provide adequate stores of energy for illness or pregnancy, and to prevent adult onset of nutrition- related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer and osteoporosis.

Eating healthy food and ensuring adequate intake of nutrients are important at any stage, but it's especially important for teenagers. Total nutrition needs are higher during adolescence than any other time in the lifecycle. Nutrition and physical and psychological growth are integrally related; Optimal nutrition is a requisite for achieving the full growth potential. Failure to consume an adequate nutrition through diet at this vulnerable period can result in delayed sexual maturation, can arrest or slow linear growth, and can lead to many nutrition related abnormalities.

Prior to puberty, nutritional requirements are similar for boys and girls. It is during puberty that body composition and biological changes such as menarche, emerge which affect gender- specific nutrition needs. Nutritional requirements for both male and females increase sharply during the peak velocity of growth. At the peak of adolescent growth spurt, the nutritional requirements maybe twice as high as those of the remaining period of adolescence.

Adolescence is considered as the nutritionally critical period of life, because the dramatic increase in physical growth and psychological development put greater pressure on the need for nutrients. During this period, adolescence will experience a weight gain equivalent to 65% of their weight at the beginning of the period and 40% of the final weight, and a high gain equivalent to 15% of their adult height. There is a potential for correcting nutritional inadequacies and also considered as the second opportunity to catch-up growth if environmental, especially in terms of nutrient intake are favourable. Improving adolescent nutrition behaviour is an investment in adult health.

The high rates of growth and development during adolescence increase the nutritional requirement compared to those seen in earlier childhood. Indeed, this stage of life has requirements of energy and nutrients that are greater than seen in adulthood. As it is an important time for gains in height as well as weight, both muscle and fat increases, girls gain relatively more fat, and boys gain more muscles. Thus, the requirement for energy and protein increases. The actual needs vary with physical activity. Adolescent females require approximately 2200 kcal/day, whereas male adolescents require 2500-3000 kcal/day. Adolescents often have higher level of physical activity than seen in adults, and these can contribute significantly to energy requirement. Protein needs of adolescents are influenced by the amount of protein required for the maintenance of existing lean mass and accrual of additional lean body mass during the adolescent growth spurt. The adolescent growth spurt is sensitive to energy and nutrient requirement. Chronically low energy intakes can lead to delayed puberty. Similarly when protein intakes become consistently inadequate, reduction in linear growth, delays in sexual maturation, and reduction in accumulation of body mass can occur. Carbohydrate is the body's primary source of dietary energy. Dietary recommendations suggest that 50% or more of daily energy expenditure should come from carbohydrates. At the same time the human body requires dietary fat and essential fatty acids, for the normal growth and development and synthesis of steroid hormones.

Micro nutrients are essential during the adolescence period in order to ensure physiological process and functions can be maintained during the period of maximal growth. Minerals play a crucial role in adolescence nutrition. Calcium, zinc and iron are of particular significance. The adolescent years are a window of opportunity for optimal bone development and future health. Thus calcium requirements are greater during adolescence. Consumption of calcium rich products with every meal goes a long way towards ensuring that requirements are met for Calcium and many other nutrients such as Phosphorous, Magnesium and Vitamin needed for bone health. Zinc is known to be essential for growth and sexual maturation. Plus Zinc is associated with more than 100 specific enzymes and is vital for protein formation. Adolescents see an increase in requirement of Iron, for the rapid growth and expansion of blood volume and muscle mass. Poor Iron status in adolescents especially in girls, is associated with Iron deficiency anaemia, reduced performance and impaired cognitive abilities.

The requirements for Vitamins are also increased during adolescence. Because of higher energy demands, more Thiamine, Riboflavin and Niacin are necessary for the release of energy from carbohydrates. The increased rate of growth and sexual maturation increases the demand for Folic acid and Vitamin B12. The rapid rate of skeletal growth demands more Vitamin D. Vitamin A,C, and E are needed in increased amounts for new cell growth. Adolescents also have increased requirement for folate.

Article-image-700-02In order to attain the nutritional status that helps in rapid growth and development in adolescence it is always important to incorporate all nutrients in appropriate amount in the diet. Hence, a balanced diet that contains all essential macro and micronutrients at proper proportions to fulfil the requirements of adolescents and is consumed at proper meal times will be helpful. With so many unhealthy meal choices, it is important to abstain from foods high in calories and fats and maintain a healthy, well- balanced nutritious diet. Adolescence has to meet their protein requirement essentially through diet by including fish, poultry, lean meat beans and nuts. Calcium can be obtained through dairy products and Iron can be obtained through fish, meat, cereals, poultry, eggs and fortified products. Good fat sources include nuts, seeds, olives, fatty fishes, vegetable and sunflower oils. Vitamins are readily available in fruits and vegetables. Consumption of whole grains and cereal based products are also important.

If adolescents are well-nourished, they can make optimal use of their skills, talents and energies today, and be healthy and responsible citizens and parents of healthy babies tomorrow. Hence, Nutrition plays a vital role in the life of adolescence.


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