Nutrition of School-Age Children and Adolescents

Author: Rae Galloway

Introduction:

Globally, there are 1.8 billion children ages 5-19 years; nearly 90 percent live in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) (World Bank 2015). The prevalence and consequences of malnutrition, inadequate intake of nutrients leading to increased risk of morbidity and mortality, for children in their first 1,000 days are well-studied (Black and others 2013). Less is known about the extent of the problem and its consequences in children ages 5-19 years in LMICs, although they constitute 27 percent of the population in these countries (World Bank 2015). Available evidence for selected age groups within this cohort suggests that children ages 5-15 years suffer from high prevalence of nutritional deprivation and its consequences. Malnutrition is manifested as underweight (measured by low weight for age or body mass index), overweight/obesity (measured by excessive weight-for-age or body mass index--BMI), and micronutrient deficiencies (essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals).Overweight and obesity are caused by inadequate intake of energy (too much) and other nutrients, and in most cases the vitamins and minerals are inadequate due to the poor quality of the diet.