Does fasting cause harm to a teenager who is growing?

Last updated on October 9, 2020


In my religion, we must fast for a month and go hungry. I want to fast this year, but I have a question: Does fasting cause harm for a teenager who is growing? Or does it prevent you from reaching your potential growth and height?


Fasting means going completely without food. There are some religions where people “fast,” but it just means they change their meal times to the evenings and just eat one meal a day. A long “fast” where the growing teenager is still eating will not cause harm.

However, going an entire month without food will stop your growth and development. The body is designed to make survival a high priority, so when inadequate food is available, it will stop growth and development (which consumes a huge amount of energy) so that you can survive. Once food is available again, the body will try to make up for lost time, but it usually will not be able to completely make up for the lost time.

A long fast would be considered going longer than three days without food.