Nutritional problems in childhood and adolescence: A narrative review of identified disparities

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


To inform programs and policies that promote health equity, it is essential to monitor the distribution of nutritional problems among young people. Common nutritional problems include overall low diet quality, the underconsumption and overconsumption of certain dietary components, unhealthy meal and snack patterns, problematic feeding practices, and disordered eating. The objective of this narrative review is to summarize recent evidence of disparities among U.S. children (2-19 years) according to age, sex, socioeconomic status, ethnicity/race, and rural-urban location. Searches in PubMed® and MEDLINE® were completed to identify peer-reviewed research studies published between January 2009 and January 2019. Findings from the 99 reviewed studies indicate adolescent females, young people from lower socioeconomic households, and persons who identify as non-Hispanic Black race are particularly vulnerable populations for whom targeted strategies should be developed to address evidence of increased risk with regards to multiple aspects of nutritional wellbeing. Limitations of the existing evidence relate to the accuracy of self-reported dietary data; the need for consistent definitions of disordered eating; the focus on individual dietary components versus patterns; the complexities of categorizing socioeconomic status, ethnicity/race, and rural and urban areas; and the cross-sectional, observational nature of most research designs. There is an urgent need for research to address these limitations and fill a large gap in evidence on rural-urban differences in nutritional problems. It will further be important for future studies to build greater understanding of how nutritional problems cluster among population groups.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNutrition Research Reviews
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2020


  • Keywords:
  • adolescents
  • children
  • dietary intake
  • disparity
  • feeding practices

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Nutritional problems in childhood and adolescence: A narrative review of identified disparities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this