Healthy Eating for School-Aged Children and Youth

Healthy Development

Healthy Eating for School-Aged Children and Youth

Eating habits develop early in life and for this reason it is important to have healthy foods available during the school-age years. Healthy food and beverages provide children and youth with the energy and nutrients necessary for growth, learning, physical activity, as well as to develop into healthy, productive adults.

Children and youth have access to food and beverages in many different settings including home, schools, and the larger community in which they live, learn, work and play. The food experiences provided by different settings, in addition to influential media messages, work together to shape eating habits and preferences. Given the amount of time children and youth spend in school, it is not surprising that parents, students, communities, schools, and government departments recognize the school environment as one that significantly influences students’ food choices and intakes.

Poor nutrition is affecting the health of children in Nova Scotia, across the Canada and around the world. In a recent Nova Scotia study of 5,200 grade five students, more than half did not meet Canada’s Food Guide to Healthy Eating recommendations for minimum servings from the four food groups. Skipping meals, skipping breakfast, and purchasing meals at school or fast-foods restaurants contributed to poor intakes. Additionally, grade 5 students who bought lunch at school were 39% more likely to be overweight compared with those bringing lunch from home.

For Healthy Eating and other health-related advice for school age students please visit:

Breakfast, Lunch, and Snack Ideas for School-Age Children

A Healthy Start to School

Food and Nutrition Policy for Nova Scotia Public Schools