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Measuring Energy Needs and Nutritional Status Among Adolescent Girls in Nigeria

Herman Pontzer of Duke University in the U.S. and Patricia Ukegbu of the Michael Okpara University of Agriculture in Nigeria will track the daily energy expenditures and requirements, and nutritional statuses of adolescent girls in rural Nigeria to help support their growth and development. Low- and middle-income countries suffer greatly from undernutrition, poor dietary practices and food insecurities, but are also experiencing increased obesity and unhealthy weight gain. Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to poor nutritional health but often neglected in nutritional program planning due to a lack of accurate data. To address this, they will recruit fifty female adolescents aged 13–18 from selected urban and rural schools in Abia State and measure their daily energy expenditure (kcal/d) and body composition (fat%) using the gold-standard doubly-labeled water method. This will be combined with dietary, food security and physical activity assessments to develop an accurate evaluation of nutritional health.

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