The world today is home to the largest population of adolescents and youth in human history. Almost half of 1.2 billion adolescents living on the planet are girls.
86% of the world’s adolescents live in low- and middle-income countries, with more than half of the adolescent population living in Asia.
Adolescents need adequate and healthy diets to meet the growth demands of puberty and to reduce the risk of malnutrition. Adolescence marks the second-fastest period of growth, after infancy, providing a second window of opportunity in the life course for growth and development.
With access to adequate health and nutrition, adolescence is a time when “catch-up growth” may occur and reduce childhood stunting, with dramatic increases in height.
Adolescents are a diverse group with varied needs and motivations
The global community needs a deeper understanding of the needs, preferences and circumstances of adolescents to deliver health and nutrition education that ensures health equity, non-discrimination and active participation.
To inform program development and policy-making, we need to understand the behaviours, dietary patterns and main influencers in the context of adolescents’ social and psychosocial development.
Also, to support scale-up, health systems integration, cross-sector collaboration and sustainability, we need to conduct follow-up research to help identify innovations, delivery platforms and partnerships that reach and affect adolescents.