As a chef, husband, and father, I care a great deal about what my family eats. I pay close attention to the diet of my 2 adolescent sons who both play sports. At this time in their life, poor diet can not only be detrimental to their health now but can also cause serious problems when they are adults.
The growth spurt that occurs in adolescence is second only to that which occurs in the first year of life. For this reason, nutrient needs are higher during the teenage years than any other time in life as they are necessary to achieve full growth potential. The greatest amount of nutrients are needed during the peak of the adolescent growth spurt. The nutrients required at this time may be twice as high as other times during adolescence. If these needs are not met, puberty and overall growth are slowed and certain diseases and other problems may also develop such as anemia and vision impairment. Lean body mass is also reduced due to lack of nutrients at this time. Nutrient deficiency at this time also lead to adult diet-related diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. (Story, n.d.).