Overall, the committee identified five broad conclusions (Box 7-1), derived from the individual findings. These serve as the basis for the committee’s recommendations.
Health-related behaviors such as eating habits and physical activity patterns develop early in life and often extend into adulthood. A healthful and balanced diet provides recommended amounts of nutrients and other food components to promote normal growth and development, reduce chronic disease risk, and foster appropriate energy balance and a healthy weight. In order to develop eating habits that will have health-promoting benefits that carry them into adulthood, children and adolescents need to consume more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy products, and moderate their intakes of high-calorie and low-nutrient foods and beverages. The committee’s review in Chapter 2 of the health, diet, and eating patterns of children and youth identified several issues and trends.
More certain determinations of nutritional requirements for children and adolescents await the development of better techniques and data sets.