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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Davis, California » Western Human Nutrition Research Center » Immunity and Disease Prevention Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #378838

Research Project: Impact of Diet on Intestinal Microbiota, Gut Health and Immune Function

Location: Immunity and Disease Prevention Research

Title: Role of nutrition in optimal adolescent growth and development

Author
item NORRIS, SHANE - University Of Witwatersrand
item FRONGILLO, EDWARD - University Of South Carolina
item PRENTICE, ANN - University Of Cambridge
item FALL, CAROLINE - University Of Southampton
item WARD, KATE - University Of Southampton
item ROCHAT, TAMSEN - University Of Witwatersrand
item BLACK, MAUREEN - University Of Maryland
item DONG, YANHUI - Peking University
item LAMPL, MICHELLE - Emory University
item LIESE, ANGELA - University Of South Carolina
item Stephensen, Charles
item TINAGO, CHIWONESO - West Chester State University

Submitted to: Lancet
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/2/2021
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Adolescence is a period of rapid growth and development that requires adequate dietary intake to support optimal health outcomes. This article reviews the role of nutrition in adolescent growth and development. Poor dietary practices during this period can have short- and long-term health effects, affecting, for example, timing of puberty, linear growth, and development of obesity. Obesity and specific nutritional deficiencies can affect severity of infectious diseases by impairing immune function during this period. Late childhood and early adolescence are sensitive periods where poor dietary practices can affect later obesity and other health outcomes. Appropriate dietary intake during adolescence provides a foundation for healthy pregnancy and improved outcomes in childbirth and child health. Finally, brain development during adolescence is sensitive to nutritional deficiencies and can affect future behavior. Public health efforts to support adequate dietary intake during pregnancy should be at the center of efforts to support adolescent development and optimize prospects for lifelong health.

Technical Abstract: A recent WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission calls for children and adolescents to be placed at the center of action to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Adolescence is a time of transformation in which nutrition plays a prominent role in multiple physiological systems, with growth and maturation of any one system having implications for others. Nutrition affects timing of pubertal events, and poor nutrition can lead to both accelerated and delayed timing with impacts on linear growth and adiposity. Nutrition is important for ensuring adequate growth during adolescence. Macronutrient and micronutrient deficiencies during adolescence can impair immune function resulting in increased severity of common infectious diseases, and Vitamin D supplementation in deficient adolescents may improve immune function. Late childhood and the early adolescent years are an important sensitive period for promoting healthy growth to prevent later obesity and improving short- and long-term and intergenerational outcomes. Pregnancy complications are the leading cause of death among adolescent women in low- and middle-income countries and delaying age at first pregnancy is critical. The nutrition established during adolescence provides a foundation for healthy pregnancy, important because adolescent pregnancy carries high risks for the growth and nutrition of mother and her child. Heightened sensitivity in the adolescent brain’s development provides both opportunities for development and increased vulnerabilities, particularly in low- and middle-income countries where risks are high and where the consequences of bad decisions may be far more severe and life-changing. Understanding the adolescent brain is key for developing effective nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive behavior change interventions.