Citation: Partridge SR. Current dietary advice and challenges for adolescents. British Medical Bulletin (Invited review). 2020; 135 (1): 28-37.



Background: The major risk factors driving the global burden of disease are diet related. Adolescence presents a window of opportunity for establishing healthy dietary trajectories. Yet around the world, adolescents experience many barriers that prevent them from consuming diets that would give them the foundation for long, healthy and productive adult lives.

Sources of data: A narrative literature search of most relevant original, review and meta-analyses, restricted to English was conducted in Medline, Web of Science and PubMed up to December 2019 together with published papers known to the author concerning the current dietary advice and challenges for adolescent nutrition.

Areas of agreement: Adolescence is a critical period of growth and development and adequate nutrition is essential. Sufficient population data indicate adolescents are not meeting dietary recommendations and are a vulnerable population group for malnutrition in all its forms.

Areas of controversy: Despite extensive studies on dietary risk factors and the global burden of disease and population data demonstrating inadequate nutritional intake in adolescent populations, few effective interventions and policies have been scaled up to support adolescent nutrition.

Growing points: Improving the diets of adolescents, especially vulnerable adolescents from low- and middle-income countries and socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds, has the potential to impact individuals, societies and economies.

Areas timely for developing research: Future research should focus on vulnerable adolescent populations by addressing food environments, food insecurity and ensuring effective programmes and strategies are integrated within broader adolescent health strategies and implemented into government policies.

About The Authors


Dr Stephanie Partridge is an Early Career Researcher and Accredited Practising Dietitian. Her resear...