February 22, 2007

To-do list for teens: study for SAT, gain 40 pounds


Of course it annoys me that the headline says "Researcher Says Anorexia May Be Genetic" because it is clear from the article that the message is that Anorexia "is" genetic, but, never mind.

The best part of that AP story is buried toward the end:

Johnson said the research has helped to identify groups most at risk of developing the disease, such as girls ages 11 to 14. ''Girls are expected to gain a third of their adult weight during that time,'' or about 40 pounds, he said.

This is something that comes up poignantly in Doris Smeltzer's book, Andrea's Voice.

Just when our kids start internalizing the messages about "obesity epidemic" and their coaches start telling them to knock off the pizza... they are also programmed to blossom into their adult proportions. Let's not let that be a surprise or a bad thing.

As a society we need to normalize and celebrate the concept that adolescence is a time of rapid change - and weight gain. Yay!

Important Rites of Passage: SAT test, first beard growth, first period, finding out Mom doesn't know her times tables, driving test, first job, bat mitzvah, first pimple, 40 pounds, first date, finding out about Santa...

Ritual to bypass: first diet.

Repeat after me:"I've gained weight, Mom!" "Congratulations!"

3 comments:

  1. Laura,

    Now *this* is something I think they should teach in health class: the necessity of weight gain during puberty, especially for girls.

    I know, most schools will probably say, "But how will we fit it into the curriculum?" How about into the void left when we stop making kids watch "Supersize Me"?

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  2. YES! Not only do we need to encourage growth during the growing years we need to throw away the dated numbers that would scare a person from being the size their body is meant to be...their TRUE setpoint which is our best individual health. [ I never felt my weight was the schools business anyway] I've actually heard something indicating that I am less healthy for not being close to the size I was at 18yrs. old. This is wrong, IMO. When I look back at the pictures of my young husband and myself I can see that even our heads and hands grew. We weren't fully developed yet.
    Yes Laura, it is genetic and treatment needs to be addressed as such. Of course using the best tools one can find, even wands I might add, to beat this thing. See why I try to steer clear of blogs? I start talking and can't shut up.

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