Youths in general have an increased need for calories due to periods of rapid growth. The nutrients contained within the foods they eat should provide the nourishment their bodies need to properly grow. Recent trends show that youths are eating more meals away from home, and that almost 40% of the total energy they consume is in the form of empty calories (1). Suboptimal nutrition can cause complications such as excess weight gain, and may also compromise growth and development. Youth athletes expend more nutrient rich energy than their sedentary counterparts and for this reason, should consume more calories to fuel their bodies for performance and recovery. Proper nutrition and hydration is essential, before, during and after activity.
The Electronics Age continues to usher in new improvements that supposedly improve our quality of living, but over the years, it may be causing a more long-term problem in the form of childhood and adult obesity. Video games now keep kids in the house to play with each other, virtually, online, rather than going outside to play and be active. Over the years, this has led to a decline in physical activity among adolescents, which in turn, has now set forth a full-blown obesity epidemic.