As children develop, they require healthy foods , that contain more vitamins and minerals to support growing bodies. This means whole grains (whole wheat, oats, barley, rice, millet, quinoa); a wide variety of fresh vegetables (5 or more helpings per day) and some fruits; calcium for growing bones (milk or substitutes if lactose intolerant); and healthy proteins.
Healthy eating and being physically active are particularly important for children and adolescents. This is because their nutrition and lifestyle influence their wellbeing, growth and development. The nutritional requirements of children and adolescents are high in relation to their size because of the demands for growth, in addition to requirements for body maintenance and physical activity. Physical activity has a major impact on health at all stages of life. In children and young people physical activity is particularly important to maintain energy balance and therefore a healthy bodyweight, for bone and muscoskeletal development, for reducing the risk of diabetes and hypertension, and for numerous psychological and social aspects. Too little time in the sun will reduce Vitamin D.
Trends in overweight and obesity in children and adolescents are associated with an increased risk of various conditions in adulthood yet are observed in children. Obese children have been shown to already have many of the changes associated with vascular disease in adults, including insulin resistance, and high blood pressure. Type 2 diabetes mellitus has become a far more common occurrence in children and adolescents
Oral health has clearly improved since the 1970s, mainly due improved oral hygiene and nutrition. A sufficient supply of calcium and vitamin D, as well as being physically active, is important for healthy bone development. There is a high incidence of perceived food allergies and intolerances. It has also been suggested that contemporary diets and food quality affects mental health, including cognitive function and depression.