3.4.1 Adolescent growth spurt
Adolescents also undergo a very rapid growth during their puberty (called the pubertal growth spurt). During the pubertal growth spurt, they increase rapidly both in weight and height. Therefore, they need a nutrient intake that is proportional with their rate of growth. The growth rate is very high right after birth (infancy). Then the growth rate slows down until the age of 12–14 years. At about 15–16 years (the pubertal period) there is a sharp rise in growth rate/velocity. After that, the growth rate slows down again.
Requirements for macronutrients (proteins, carbohydrates and fats) and micronutrients are higher on a per kilogram basis during infancy and childhood than at any other developmental stage. These needs are influenced by the rapid cell division occurring during growth, which requires protein, energy and fat. Increased needs for these nutrients are reflected in daily requirements for these age groups, some of which are briefly discussed below.