A nutritionally balanced diet is essential to ensure good health at any age, but it is of special importance during puberty. This is a time when rapid changes occur in a child’s body and nutritional requirements increase. The quality of nutrition during puberty will contribute to growth, sexual development and health benefits or risks. Nutritional deficiencies or an intake of excessive calories can increase health risks.
A poor diet can hinder or delay puberty, including failure to develop breasts for girls or failure for testicles to increase in size by the early teen years for boys.
Nutrition is directly related to growth during puberty. Growth spurts are all part and parcel of puberty and according to experts, any deficiencies in calories, protein, vitamins and minerals may retard growth during puberty.
Nutrition during puberty affects the development of strong bones and not getting enough of it risks osteoporosis later in life. It is therefore of the utmost importance for your child to follow a balanced diet during puberty, including sufficient dairy products which will increase body weight and improve bone mineral content.
The body needs more calories, protein, folate, calcium, iron, zinc and other nutrients. Following a balanced diet of nutrient rich foods will allow your child to meet nutritional requirements and as a result minimise any health risks. Supplements may be of benefit to your child to enable them to reach daily requirements of certain vitamins and minerals. Speak to your G.P. if you feel your child would benefit from a supplement.