Diets of British Teenagers are ‘Unhealthy and Unsustainable’, Study States

According to research, teenagers in the UK are not eating healthily enough, with the majority not even eating an apple a day.

Health experts found that seven in 10 British teenagers do not even consume 100g of fruit each day – the equivalent of one small apple. Nine in 10 are not consuming sufficient amounts of vegetables and 73% surpass the recommended sugar consumptions limits every day, researchers have confirmed.

The study, which is being presented at the European Congress on Obesity in the Netherlands, evaluated the proportion of adolescents who are broadly eating in line with a “planetary health diet” which is said to be both healthy and sustainable for the planet by reducing greenhouse gas production.

Data was collected from 942 pupils aged between 11 to 15 from 16 school located in the West Midlands. Pupils completed a survey on their dietary intake the day before.

The survey showed that approximately 70% ate under 100g of fruit a day and 91% did not consume 200g of vegetables every day. It was found that most pupils were consuming large amounts of poultry and potatoes.

Judging the results from the study, the authors concluded: “This study suggests adolescents in the West Midlands are consuming diets which are neither healthy nor sustainable.”


Dr Ankita Gupta, study lead from the University of Birmingham, said governments and dietary guidelines need to recognise that a third of British teenagers are overweight or obese and “consider interventions that focus on transforming food systems, changing food policy and supporting diets that benefit both young people’s health and the planet”.

“For many young people living in the UK and other western countries, eating according to the planetary health diet will entail a major change, and it will take time to change our eating habits, Dr Gupta continued.

“Schools are where children spend most of their time, making this a crucial setting for programmes, strategies, and policies that alter the food environment by shaping the choices available and the options they choose. We tend to stick to the dietary habits we develop as children.”

SEE ALSO: Why Are Hepatitis Cases on the Rise?

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