The diets of children: Overview of available data for children and adolescents.

Elsevier, Global Food Security, Volume 27, 2020, 100442, ISSN 2211-9124,
Roland Kupka, Kendra Siekmans, Ty Beal

Poor diet quality impairs survival, growth, and development among children and adolescents. Drawing on global data sources, we review for this Special Issue elements of diet quality in children 0–19 years with a focus on low- and middle-income settings. Large data gaps prevent adequate characterization of overall dietary quality. However, data from major reporting systems show that suboptimal breastfeeding and complementary feeding practices are common among children <2 years. Diets with low intakes of fruits, vegetables, and animal-source foods expose children 0–19 years to nutrient deficiencies in low- and middle-income settings. Concurrently, energy-dense, nutrient-poor processed foods are spurring a global obesity epidemic. Major efforts are needed to improve diet quality among children and adolescents through redesigned data and food systems.