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Teen girls and body image: the eating trap


Delicious meal needs 2nd veg for teen
Photo: AP/Lynne Sladky
Although women have made many advances in all areas of society,holding positions of authority in almost every arena of public and private life, the beauty myth still continues to have a strong impact on young women of all ages.
Adolescence is a wonderful time for the body to blossom and strengthen. Although hormones can cause some uncomfortable changes that are unavoidable, the teen years provide a time when a young girl can reach her peak physically and athletically. Of course, this can only be achieved through proper diet and exercise.
So when should a parent of a teen girl become concerned about her daughter's body image and a possible eating disorder? The Child and Adult Care Food Program, the federal program that sets standards for feeding for children in PreK through adolescence for school and daycare food programs, states that the child over the age of 10 should be feed as following. First of all, 3 meals a day are a must for energy and  to accommodate the growth spurt that teens are encountering while they sleep. For breakfast, a teen should have a bread or cereal, milk or some vitamin D enriched liquid, and a full serving of fruit or vegetable. For lunch, a teen should have a full serving of meat or protein substitute (such as peanut butter or cheese), bread, two fruits or vegetable servings, and a milk or some vitamin D enriched liquid. Dinner would be the same as lunch, but the food program also recommends  two snacks of fruit and bread throughout the day. If your teen is not adhering to something close to this prescribed diet, there is a danger of vitamin or protein deficiency. This deficiency can affect future growth and capability of vital organs such as kidneys, heart, reproductive system, as well as teeth, nails, and hair.
Encourage your teen daughter to eat well and exercise and compliment on her looks as well as other wonderful areas of her personality. Use phrases like "I like the unique way you. . ." or "Only you can" and make meal time a family affair. Spend time at the table eating and discussing the day. Most of all emphasize to your teen daughter how important healthy eating is to her future and will lay a positive foundation for anything she chooses to do in her life.


  • Kathryn-Gospel Music & Entertainment Examiner 5 years ago

    You know what else is terrible for teen girls as far as body image? Having 20-something portray them on shows like "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" - Yeah, the "secret" is they look, talk and act like they are in their 20s because the actresses ARE in their 20s. Between thinking they have to be skinny and also have to look 25, the image of teen girls is pretty much poisoned by Hollywood and the media.

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