Let’s get down to gender specific nutrient needs; the big thing is the massive teenage growth spurt, peaking for girls around age 12 ½ and in boys in their 14th year. Bone length and height increase rapidly, and even when adult height is reached, teenage bones need to continue increasing in density and strength.  A staggering 50% of the skeleton weight is formed during the years that follow this massive growth spurt, relying absolutely on sufficient calcium and vitamin D. This is THE most important vitamin and mineral combination needed for bone growth. The other key mineral that really matters (for teen girls in particular) is iron. With the onset of menstruation girls’ needs for iron are twice that of boys, but ironically, around half teenage girls have very low intakes of iron and a growing number have iron deficiency anaemia. It’s so important to know the good sources of these nutrients, and for iron, the issues around bioavailability and iron absorption. Girls generally have lower intakes of a range of nutrients than boys of the same age and it remains true that girls will restrict food intake in pursuit of a lower body weight.