Key points

  • Growth and development are rapid during teenage years, and the demand for most nutrients is relatively high.
  • National survey data show adolescents’ intakes of saturated fatty acids, salt and non-milk extrinsic sugars (added sugars) are above recommended levels.
  • A proportion of teenagers (especially girls) have low intakes of some vitamins and minerals (in particular vitamin A, iron, calcium, zinc and iodine).
  • Overweight and obesity are prevalent in British adolescents. For example, in 2013 in England, 34% of boys and 39% of girls aged 13-15 years were overweight or obese.
  • It is recommended that young people should do at least 60 minutes of activity of moderate intensity every day. Only 14% of boys and 8% of girls aged 13-15 years are meeting these guidelines.

Energy and nutrient requirements

Healthy weight

Physical activity

Nutrients of concern

Current intakes

Schools meals and packed lunches

Eating disorders