Nutrition during puberty (ages 13-19) should be based on a nutrient-dense meal plan according to the Food Guide Pyramid. Eating patterns in adolescents are easily influenced by independence from parents' food choices, hectic schedules, search for self-identification, peer acceptance, or dissatisfaction with body image.
Teens have an increased tendency to skip meals, eat more meals outside of the home, snack frequently, consume convenience foods, and participate in crash or fad dieting, all of which can be detrimental to their overall nutrition.
Some of the issues related to food intake that is seen during puberty are:
Increased rates of eating disorders (Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia)
Increased rates of obesity for a variety of reasons
Decreased calcium consumption due to soda, juice, water, and sports beverages consumption. The RDI for calcium is 1,300mg/day for both sexes
Minerals that are increased during adolescents include iron and zinc. Iron deficiency can be a problem for girls due to menses, and zinc is needed for growth and sexual development.
Fiber intake is important for normal bowel functioning; however, there is no RDI.
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