Health officials have warned that teenage girls are facing the risk of illnesses like cancer, heart disease, strokes and diabetes in later life by eating fewer than three servings of fruit and vegetables every day.
According to a report backed by the UK Department of Health, just one in 13 teenage girls eats the recommended “five a day” portions of fruit and vegetables.
Almost half do not eat enough iron, an essential nutrient found in red meat, nuts and some vegetables that helps fight infection.
And their diets are too high in saturated fat, which can lead to high levels of cholesterol causing strokes and heart attacks.
The UK National Diet and Nutrition Survey, which involved more than 2,000 adults and children, found that teenage girls’ diets were generally less healthy than boys.
Boys eat an average three portions of fruit and veg a day compared with 2.7 for girls.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Dame Sally Davies warned that poor eating habits in childhood could increase problems in later life.
“It is really important that teenagers eat a balanced diet – including eating five portions of fruit and veg a day. Eating well and being active can help prevent serious illnesses such as cancer and heart disease later in life,” the Daily Mail quoted Davies as saying.