Principles of rational nutrition of adolescents 15-19 years practicing sports professionally.
One of the basic conditions for the normal development and functioning of a young organism is rational nutrition. In order to develop properly and live in full health, every person should eat a diet based on natural products every day, providing the necessary amount of energy and all the necessary nutrients, i.e.. proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, vitamins, dietary fiber and water. It is also important, that both the energy and the above-mentioned components of the diet are provided in the right proportions and with the right frequency. In addition, food must be adapted to the real needs of the body, based on age, body weight, gender, type and size of work performed. Wholesome nutrition is especially important for young people, in whom, due to intensive growth and development, the demand for energy and many nutrients increases. A properly balanced diet becomes even more important, when we are dealing with young people practicing sports, because high physical activity additionally increases the need for many nutrients in food.
A balanced energy balance in the body is one of the basic principles of proper nutrition. The amount of energy in the diet of a young athlete must be sufficient to ensure both proper growth and development as well as increased physical activity. The energy demand of young people practicing sports is particularly high during the so-called. growth jump (greater than at any other time in life), hence young people, especially in this period, are very sensitive to energy supply limitations. There are also large fluctuations in energy consumption related to individual and gender differences. For example, 16-year-old boys need approx 600 kcal more than girls of the same age, and an 18-year-old needs approx 1000 kcal more than his peer. This should be borne in mind when planning meals at school, by varying the size of portions prepared for girls and boys. Serving meals in the canteen is also a recommendable solution, in the form of a "buffet".
In adults, weight control alone is a fairly good indicator of energy consumption. Insufficient energy supply causes them to lose weight, and its excess increase in "weight", which in turn can lead to overweight and obesity. However, in growing individuals, in which weight gain is a natural phenomenon, weight control is inadequate, to test whether the energy consumption in a given period was correct. In this case, it is more advisable to evaluate body weight in relation to height, although the most reliable indicator of the amount of energy consumed in the case of both adults and young people is body composition testing, i.e.. determining the amount of adipose tissue and lean body mass. You should remember this, that estimating the body composition of growing people is difficult due to the higher water content and lower amount of minerals in the bones and therefore lower body density of a young person. The use of adult formulas in this case can lead to large errors in assessing the amount of fat in a teenager's body. Therefore, the amount of body fat in the body of young athletes, before or at the beginning of puberty, it should be estimated on the basis of the skin and fat folds and special patterns taking into account the body density, age and sex of the respondent.