Academic journal article Adolescence

Clinical Parameters and Dietary Intake of Midwestern Adolescent Females

Academic journal article Adolescence

Clinical Parameters and Dietary Intake of Midwestern Adolescent Females

Article excerpt


Adolescence is a period of dynamic change - the only period in the life cycle after birth that is characterized by accelerated physical, biological, biochemical, cognitive, and emotional development. This acceleration is closely related to nutritional status (Dwyer, 1981; Marine & King, 1980; Tanner, 1981; Grant, 1979).

If energy needs for adolescents are not met, growth of lean muscle mass, deposition of subcutaneous fat, physical growth stages, and sexual maturity may be delayed (Grant, 1979). Analysis of dietary intake showed that female adolescents maturing at an earlier age consumed less energy and protein per kg of body weight, but were fatter at young adult age (Post & Kemper, 1993). Cognitive growth as measured by educational achievement has been found to be significantly and positively correlated with protein, calcium, riboflavin, and iron intakes (Ivanovic, Vasquez, Marambio, Ballester, Zacarias, & Auguqyo, 1991).

Gaines and Daniel (1974) found that all female groups had mean intakes of iron below two thirds RDA. Data from the "Ten-State Nutrition Survey" (U.S. Department of Health, Education & Welfare, 1972) demonstrated that 50 to 60% of adolescent females had dietary intakes of iron below two thirds RDAs. Folacin intakes were most frequently below 67% RDA (McCoy et al., 1984).

Protein, iron, and ascorbic acid intakes are among nutrients that affect hemoglobin (Hgb) levels. According to Lee (1978) mean Hgb value was 12.0 g/d1 [+ or -] 2.0 SD. Thirty-three percent of the white adolescent females had levels below acceptable values. Dallman, Yip, & Johnson (1978) noted the prevalence of individuals with Hgb values below the reference range of 9-14g/d1. which resulted in a high prevalence of anemia in adolescent females aged 15 to 17 years. Iron deficiency is the major cause of anemia in adolescents (Raunikar & Sabio, 1992). Both Hgb and hematocirt (Hct) values reflect the amount of available iron and protein in the diet. In a study by Faigel (1973) of suburban adolescent females, Hct mean was 40.9%.

The free amino acid pool and visceral protein stores reflect protein intake. Protein deficiency may occur in varying degrees in conjunction with energy deficiency as dietary protein is used for energy rather than protein synthesis.

Ascorbic acid enhances iron absorption through the intestinal mucosa. Prevalence of anemia is greater where there is both low Fe intake and low vitamin C intake (Nelson, White, & Rhodes, 1993). The "Ten-State Nutrition Survey" (U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare, 1972) shows that 30 to 40% of adolescent females have dietary intake of vitamin C below two thirds of RDA.

Lee (1978) reported that intake of calcium, iron, and vitamin A were grossly deficient among adolescent females; 76% of the white adolescent females had an intake of calcium below two thirds RDA, and 73% and an intake of vitamin A below two thirds RDA. Similar findings were reported by McCoy et al. (1984), and both the first and second National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I and NHANES II) (U.S. Department of Health, Education & Welfare, 1972; 1977) substantiate inadequate dietary intake for adolescent females.

Most of the available information discusses the correlations between one or two clinical parameters to nutritional measurements, but not on a wider scope of parameters. The purpose of this study was to investigate the correlation between a larger number of clinical and nutritional parameters in general, especially among adolescents.


Of 89 volunteers, 29 with the following conditions were excluded: receiving blood or blood components, hemorrhage, on dialysis, pregnant, diagnosed eating disorder, and on any medication that alters the albumin or white blood count, hematocrit (Hct) and hemoglobin (Hgb).

The mean age of the total sample of 60 subjects was 15. …

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