Question-2: Why promoting dietary diversity is crucial during adolescence especially among girls ?
Answer: Multiple studies show that adolescence is a nutritionally demanding phase of life. Even though both adolescent boys and girls face emotional changes during puberty, girls face more physiological demands and thus require a higher intake of macro and micro nutrients.
Promoting dietary diversity
- Susceptibility of adolescent girls to anaemia is 40% compared to boys at 18%.
- This is why promoting dietary diversity is crucial during adolescence, as dietary habits are in the formative stage and evidence shows that behaviour imbibed during adolescence has a higher chance of being continued in adult life.
- The National Family Health Survey (NFHS)5 data (201920) show an increase in anaemia among adolescent girls by 5% when compared to NFHS4.
- The Comprehensive National Nutrition Survey 2019 shows that even before the pandemic, consumption of diverse food groups among adolescents was low.
Measures to improve dietary diversity
- The fallout of COVID19 has further worsened dietary diversity, especially of women, adolescents and children.
- We need to promote good nutrition among adolescents through NutriSmart schools (building kitchen gardens in schools), which are already being implemented in some States
Adolescence is the window of opportunity where practices of dietary diversity can be built to correct nutritional deficiencies and replenish the body with much needed nutrients, especially for girls.
Thus, ensuring appropriate nutrition for adolescent girls is also paramount considering the intergenerational impact it has on combating malnutrition.
Tags: GS 1 (Social issues)
By- Prashant Tiwari