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Adolescent Nutrition

Why Adolescent nutrition is important

Adolescence (defined by the WHO as between age 10 and 19 years) is a time  of rapid growth, second only to the first year of life. Children gain up to 50% of their adult weight and skeletal mass and more than 20% of their adult height during their adolescent years. It’s also a time of significant psychosocial development, and the establishing lifelong dietary and lifestyle habits

Adolescence is a unique point in the life cycle, as it is a:

Adolescents face a high burden of morbidity and mortality, yet are often overlooked in policies, programmes and guidelines. More recently, adolescents have been the focus of increased attention through global initiatives including The Lancet commission on adolescent health and wellbeing, inclusion in the Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016- 2030), and in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) targets.

Investments in adolescent health and wellbeing bring a triple dividend of benefit now, into future adult life, and for the next generation of children. We must create the opportunities to meaningfully engage with them in all aspects of their lives

Lancet Commission on adolescent health and wellbeing

Adolescent Nutrition at ENN 

ENN first became involved in this topic in 2017 when we co-hosted a meeting with London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Save the Children, funded by Irish Aid, to discuss any sector needs and gaps. A synthesis paper was prepared as a background document for meeting, giving an overview of the ‘state of play’ and highlight key recent initiatives in the field of adolescent nutrition that set the scene for discussions. Following the meeting, the Adolescent Interest Group (now the ‘GANN’) and a specific adolescent nutrition  section  was created on en-net our digital global nutrition community forum.

See our summary of what we and our network achieved in 2023.

What we do

Global Vision

That every adolescent is nutritionally supported and afforded opportunities for optimal health and nutrition despite any past nutritional challenges 

About Global Adolescent Nutrition Network (GANN)

GANN is a new network of researchers, academics, programmers, government representatives, donors, and UN agencies, coordinated by ENN, who hosts quarterly calls. The group currently consists of approximately 250 members.

Though  the focus is on nutrition during the adolescent period, we also consider middle childhood (5-9 years) and the school-aged period (5-18 years). The aims of this interest group are to: identify emerging research; share operational experiences; disseminate relevant information; and  help ‘bridge’ the disciplines of nutrition and other sectors. Our focus is on policy and practice, through research translation and coordinated advocacy.

The role of GANN members is

Sign up for GANN membership here 

About GANN Core group:

There is also a smaller ‘core group’ who work more closely and collaboratively together towards common objectives and a common ‘theory of change’. 

Specific objectives of GANN core group includes;

Supporting the West and Central Africa Region “Call to Action”

In November 2023, as part of the FANUS (Federation of African Nutrition Societies) Conference, the Regional Nutrition Working Group for West and Central Africa launched a “Call to Action” to advance adolescent nutrition. Learn more in English or in French

For further information, or to get involved, contact Gwen gwenola@ennonline.net

Our resources on Adolescent Nutrition

At ENN we have and continue to undertake several projects focused on research compilation and evidence generation for the better nutrition of adolescents worldwide.

Recent resources include: 

Guiding principles for youth partnership: Experiences and learning from the GANN to guide engaging with young people in research, programming and governance for nutrition

Policies to prevent all forms of malnutrition among adolescents: Case studies from Bangladesh and Malawi.

Adolescent-specific reporting of nutritional status.

Rapportage de l'état nutritionnel des adolescents.

Adolescent pregnancy is associated with child undernutrition: Systematic review and meta-analysis.

Priority targets and indicators of nutritional status and intervention coverage for children and adolescents (aged 5–19 years).

Webinar Recording: Research Priorities for Nutrition in Adolescence and Middle Childhood.

Improving nutrition during middle childhood and adolescence by 2032: A research roadmap.

Research priorities for nutrition of school-aged children and adolescents in low- and middle-income countries.

Towards standardised and valid anthropometric indicators of nutritional status in middle childhood and adolescence.

Nutritional status of school-age children and adolescents in low- and middle-income countries across seven global regions: a synthesis of scoping reviews 

Adolescent nutrition mapping study: A global stakeholder survey of policies, research, interventions and data gaps

Adolescent Interest Group meeting 2017: Synthesis of evidence to date, key gaps and opportunities for adolescent nutrition

Adolescent Interest Group Meeting 2017: Report 

Field Exchange 66 - Special Issue: Nutrition of adolescents and school-aged children

 

Any questions, please get in touch with the team: natasha@ennonline.net 

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