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REVIEW ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 7  |  Page : 39-47

Nutrition and pubertal development


1 Department of Pediatrics, University of Alexandria Children's Hospital, Alexandria, Egypt
2 Department of Pediatric and Adolescent Outpatients Clinic, Quisisana Hospital, Ferrara, Italy
3 Department of Primary Health Care, AbuNakhla Hospital, Doha, Qatar

Correspondence Address:
Ashraf Soliman
Professor of Pediartics and Endocrinology, Alexandria University Children's Hospital, Alexandria
Egypt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/2230-8210.145073

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Nutrition is one of the most important factors affecting pubertal development. Puberty entails a progressive nonlinear process starting from prepubescent to full sexual maturity through the interaction and cooperation of biological, physical, and psychological changes. Consuming an adequate and balanced healthy diet during all phases of growth (infancy, childhood and puberty) appears necessary both for proper growth and normal pubertal development. Girls begin puberty at an earlier age compared to past decades. Excessive eating of many processed, high-fat foods, may be the cause of this phenomenon. Overweight or obese children are more likely to enter puberty early. Some evidence suggests that obesity can accelerate the onset of puberty in girls and may delay the onset of puberty in boys. Moreover, the progression of puberty is affected by nutrition. On the other hand, puberty triggers a growth spurt, which increases nutritional needs including macro and micronutrients. Increased caloric, protein, iron, calcium, zinc and folate needs have to be provided during this critical period of rapid growth. Severe primary or secondary malnutrition also can delay the onset and progression of puberty. The higher incidence of anorexia nervosa and bulimia in adolescents imposes a nutritional risk on pubertal development. Moreover, many environmental endocrine disruptors (EDs) have been identified that can significantly impair the normal course of puberty. This mini-review sums up some important findings in this important complex that link nutrition and pubertal development.


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