Strategies to encourage healthy eating among children and young adults
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Strategies to encourage healthy eating among children and young adults

Carrie Ruxton Lead consultant and dietitian, Nutrition Communications
Emma Derbyshire Senior lecturer in nutrition, School of healthcare science, Manchester Metropolitan University

There is a need for children and young people to improve their diets to meet recommended targets for fat, sugar, fibre, vitamins and minerals. Yet, efforts to promote healthy eating in research studies or in national campaigns have been unsuccessful or resulted in small changes to behaviour. The available evidence, albeit limited, suggests that the most effective healthy eating strategies involve techniques such as providing personalised information and incentives, supporting behavioural change, encouraging self-efficacy, where patients take control over their health, and using social media and technology to deliver messages. Nurses have an important role in supporting dietary improvement in children and young people, particularly to increase intakes of nutrients known to support growth and development, such as iron, calcium, vitamin D and long-chain omega-3 fatty acids. Advice should include both food consumption and appropriate use of dietary supplements as the latter can help bridge the gap between recommendations and current low intakes of certain nutrients.

Primary Health Care. 24, 5, 33-41. doi: 10.7748/phc.24.5.33.e854


Peer review

This article has been subject to double blind peer review

Conflict of interest

The authors of this article received funding from the Health Supplements Information Service, which is supported by a restricted educational grant from the Proprietary Association of Great Britain. The content reflects the opinions of the authors

Received: 25 November 2013

Accepted: 27 January 2014