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Prevent The First Diet! By Dr. Doris Pastore

September 12, 2013

This month we are so lucky to have a very important submission from a friend of Energetic Juniors, Dr. Doris Pastore.  Dr. Pastore is in private practice at  Adolescent-Young Adult Medicine in NYC and is currently on the voluntary faculty and attending staff of the Mount Sinai Medical Center, and Diplomates of the American Board of Pediatrics and Sub-board of Adolescent Medicine.  Her unique practice serves young people, from ages 9 to 30.


This is the best way to prevent eating disorders. Research shows that it is during the transition years of physical development, meaning during the tween years that “weird” eating patterns are commonly tried. This is especially true among females while among males this tends to occur in the mid-to-late teen years.


Some tweens are shocked to realize that their bodies can be expected to change drastically. In fact it is during this time frame that 25% of final adult height is achieved and that growth in height demands an initial increase in weight that during puberty is about 25 pounds for girls and 40 pounds for boys. Adolescents often perceive themselves overweight when they are not! The physical changes of puberty continue for several years.


Many tweens and teens don’t realize that not only does one’s height and weight change but all the organs change inresponse to an increase in testosterone (in both girls and boys). The brain, for example, continues to increase in gray matter, bones become more dense, shoe sizes change and even eyeballs get longer!


Some studies show that interactive exercises that help teens and tweens appreciate themselves and lessen body-shape dissatisfaction also help to prevent eating disorders. During these tween and teen years keeping physically active is not only a good way of managing stress but also of being connected to one’s body in a healthy way.


Some teens try out skipping meals not realizing that this may result in slowing down one’s metabolism and initiate a yo-yo-ing of weight. While preteens generally have 3 servings of dairy daily, 3 servings of protein, 4 servings of grains and 4 servings of healthy oils…teens generally need more! Teens need 3 servings of dairy daily, 6 servings of protein, 7 servings of grains and 6 servings of healthy oils.


Of course, we know that dieting has other “side-effects” and can increase crankiness and irritability as well as make itdifficult to concentrate, upset our intestinal system and in severe cases affect bone development.


Lastly, research supports the fact that family meals help protect tweens and teens in a multitude of ways. Sharing a variety of nutritious foods and connecting with adults three or more times a week they are more likely to have healthy eating patterns and be happy.


Dr. Pastore and AYAM can be contacted at