The period 10-19 years of age is one of accelerated growth both physically and psychosocially. Boys and girls during this rapid growth phase have increased nutritional requirements of both macronutrients (carbohydrate, protein, and fat) and micronutrients. This is due to rapid physical growth and the onset of menses in girls and accelerated muscle and bone mass development in boys.
At the same time, adolescents often experience poor access to adequate, safe and healthy food. They also experience challenges completing their education and finding economic opportunities. Some of these constraints are due to low income, poverty and neglect, often coupled with prevailing cultural norms which exacerbate their situations.
The adolescent period, however, presents a window of opportunity to build behaviours and practices that will support good nutrition, health and family well-being well into adulthood. Investment of USD 4.6 per capita annually through 2030 in interventions to improve adolescents' physical, sexual and mental health would yield ten times the benefits.