Malnutrition during adolescence can have lifelong consequences. Adolescents undergo rapid biological and socioemotional changes and set lifelong dietary and related habits. Gender norms can leave girls disproportionately impacted by food insecurity, but many adolescent boys are malnourished as well. Adolescent girls are at risk of dropping out of school, marrying, and becoming pregnant - all of which can harm their nutrition and health as well as that of their offspring.
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.
While the first 1,000 days remains a critical period of nutritional need, adolescence the period from 10-19 years of age is characterised by rapid biological and psychosocial growth and development. Up to 45% of skeletal growth takes place and 15 to 25% of adult height is achieved during adolescence.
Making Markets Work (MMW) is a joint programme between GAIN and six leading development agencies which aims to catalyse the power of markets and the private sector to make nutritious and safe foods more available, affordable and desirable. The programme charts new models, approaches and concepts to guide governments, investors and business to equip and shape markets to tackle malnutrition.
Malnutrition is a major problem across many parts of the world, leading to poorer outcomes in infants and children and health problems throughout life, which reduce economic growth and quality of life. Many of the causes of malnutrition have to do with diets, and diets are shaped by the food system.
Through the MNF, GAIN has supported Tarakwo Dairies – an enterprise based in Kenya's Rift Valley – to scale up their supply of safe and affordable milk. Tarakwo's distribution model uses automated milk dispensing machines, or milk ATMs, which help to improve milk availability and safety, while maintaining affordable prices for resource-constrained consumers.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are central to low- and middle-income country (LMIC) food systems and have the potential to increase local accessibility (availability and affordability) of nutritious and safe foods.
NOURISH OUR WORLD (NOW) seeks to put the power of demand creation at the core of improving the quality of diets in developing countries, especially among low-income consumers. This is because a good quality diet is central to tackling all forms of malnutrition.
Adolescence presents an opportunity to influence diet, which impacts present and future health outcomes, yet adolescent diets globally are poorly understood. This study estimated mean frequency of consumption and prevalence of less-than-daily fruit and vegetable consumption, at-least-daily carbonated beverage consumption, and at-least-weekly fast-food consumption among school-going adolescents.
GAIN works on supply and demand, as well as on changing incentives, rules and regulations to encourage production and consumption of nutritious and safe foods. We seek to understand and tackle barriers faced by small enterprises working to boost availability, affordability, desirability, and convenience of nutritious foods like eggs, especially for people on low-incomes.