30%

ADOLESCENTS ARE ANAEMIC

10%

DEATHS AMONG ADOLESCENT GIRLS 15 TO 19 ARE DUE TO MATERNAL- OR PREGNANCY-RELATED COMPLICATION

16M

GIRLS 15 TO 19 BECOME PREGNANT EVERY YEAR

The Challenge

Adolescents are missing out on the second window of opportunity.

After infancy, adolescence is the most rapid period of growth with the highest nutritional needs, providing a second window of opportunity for catch-up growth and development.

Until recently, the health and nutrition of adolescents had been neglected in global and national investment, and policy and programming in developing countries.

Malnutrition and adolescents

For biological, social and cultural reasons, girls are disproportionately impacted by malnutrition.

In many cultures around the world, women and girls often eat last and eat least. As a result, women and girls represent 60% of all undernourished people globally.

Malnutrition, along with other factors, such as poverty, gender barriers, and social and cultural norms, contributes to 130 million girls being out of school. Even when girls are in school, anaemia can hold them back from academic achievement and potential future economic empowerment.

Girls who don’t attend school also face a higher risk of pregnancy and early marriage, and are more likely to give birth to smaller infants, perpetuating the intergenerational cycle of undernutrition. Pregnancy and childbirth-related complications are the leading cause of death for girls aged 15 to 19.

Anaemia

Almost 30% of adolescents worldwide are anaemic, approximately half due to iron deficiency

Menstruation increases the nutritional needs of adolescent girls for iron and other micronutrients related to growing bone and muscle mass, including calcium, zinc, and vitamins A and D. Adolescent girls who are anaemic suffer poorer school performance, loss of productivity, and decreased current and future reproductive health.

Menstruation increases the nutritional needs of adolescent girls for iron and other micronutrients related to growing bone and muscle mass, including calcium, zinc, and vitamins A and D.

Adolescent girls who are anaemic suffer poorer school performance, loss of productivity, and decreased current and future reproductive health.