Middle School Years for Adolescence Girls

What is adolescence?

Adolescence is the transition between childhood and adulthood. The beginning is marked by PUBERTY, biological events leading up adult-sized body and sexual maturity. In North America, this begins between 10-12 years of age. The first sign seen by others is a rapid gain in height and weight, known as growth spurt. Proper nutrition is key in this stage of your daughter's growth.

Nutritional Needs

Based on physical activity, girls need between 1400 and 2200 calories per day, according to USDA. These can come from a variety of sources, while limiting intake of soda, juice, candy, "junk food" and other processed foods with high sugary content. The "plate" is a great visual to use as a guideline to help with meeting the nutritional needs.

Studies have shown when females take in too much fat and calories, they deposit more fat in the abdomen region. Chemicals released by these fat cells, can cause puberty to begin sooner than it would normally would have. However, the opposite effect occurs when not enough fat and calories are taken in. Underweight females tend to start puberty later than others.

A study done in 2004 regarding fast-food, shows the effects of these foods to be like those in children who take in too much fat and calories. Fast -food is not a healthy option, especially for adolescence who need all the healthy nutrition they can intake.

Another study done by Society for Research in Child Development indicates a strong association between frequent family meals with greater intake of fruits, vegetables, grains, and calcium-rich foods. This also reduces soft drink consumption and replaced by healthier drinks. Children eat and drink much more healthier at family meal time.



Berk, L. E. (2010). Explorations in lifespan development (5th ed.). Boston, Mass.: Allyn & Bacon.

Bowman, S. A., Gortmaker, S. L., Ebbeling, C. B., Pereira, M. A., & Ludwig, D. S. (2004). Effects of Fast-Food Consumption on Energy Intake and Diet Quality Among Children in a National Household Survey. Pediatrics, 113, 112-118.

Fiese, B. H., & Schwartz, M. (2008). Reclaiming the family table: Mealtimes and Child health and well-being. Social Policy Report of the Society for Research in Child Development, 22(4), 3-18. Retrieved from

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2013, from

U.S. Department of Agriculture. (n.d.). Retrieved November 4, 2013, from