Underweight, Short Stature and Overweight in Adolescents and Young Women in Latin America and the Caribbean
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[Introduction] Despite being the period of most rapid growth second only to infancy, nutritional problems during adolescence (defined by WHO as between 10-19 years of agea) in developing countries have been largely ignored both as a subject of research in the scientific literature and as a target of public health and nutrition programs. The period of adolescence is not only a time of dynamic physical change, but of psychological, behavioral and emotional development, all of which is likely to be affected by the social and cultural pressures and expectations accompanying the transition to adulthood. In many countries, the inequities between males and females may make adolescent girls at particular risk for poor nutrition and health. At the same time, adolescence may represent a “window of opportunity” during which health problems from earlier in life can be addressed to establish a healthy diet and physical activity that continue into adulthood.
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