Nutritional adequacy of diets for adolescents with overweight and obesity: considerations for dietetic practice

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Abstract

BACKGROUND/OBJECTIVES: Adolescents have unique nutrient requirements due to rapid growth and development. High rates of obesity in adolescents require a variety of diet interventions to achieve weight loss under clinical supervision. The aim of this study is to examine the nutritional adequacy of energy-restricted diets for adolescents.

SUBJECTS/METHODS: Three popular diets were modelled for 7 days and assessed by comparing the nutrient profile to the Australian Nutrient Reference Values. Three diets were: (1) a standard energy restricted diet based on current dietary guidelines; (2) a modified carbohydrate diet; and (3) a modified alternate day fasting diet.

RESULTS: Initial modelling revealed limiting nutrients (that is, not meeting the recommended intakes) across the diets. Subsequent modelling was required to achieve nutritional adequacy for all three diets. The dietary guidelines diet design met most nutrient targets except essential fatty acids before subsequent modelling, however this diet also provided the highest energy (8.8 vs 8.0 MJ and 6.8 MJ for the modified carbohydrate and modified alternate day fasting diet, respectively).

CONCLUSIONS: Energy-restricted diets need careful consideration to meet nutritional requirements of adolescents. A variety of eating patterns can be adapted to achieve nutritional adequacy and energy restriction, however health practitioners need to consider adequacy when prescribing diet interventions for weight loss during adolescence.

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