Nutrition Challenges and Issues of Relevance to Adolescents in Low and Middle Income Countries

Speaker: A. Prentice Presented at: 80th NNI Workshop, Bali


Pregnancies in girls aged less than 18 years are associated with significant morbidity. Although only 1-in-10 of all births are adolescent births, they account for 23% of the overall disease burden in terms of complications. In this presentation, Prof Prentice elaborates on the nutrition-related hazards associated with adolescent pregnancies such as low birth weight, anemia and obesity. He speaks about the cycle of growth stunting in young women whose catch-up growth may be hindered by early pregnancies. Stunting affects pelvis size, leading to complications during labor. In low and middle income countries, many young women struggle to meet the additional fetal nutrient demands during pregnancy. In adolescent pregnancies, nutritional demands of the adolescent growth spurt clash with the demands of the growing fetus and place young mothers at risk of deficiencies.  Based on the impact of these nutritional demands on health, Prof Prentice advocates that interventions to avoid adolescent pregnancy should be a high priority on health policy agenda