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theyarg

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DD 16 is very skinny even though she eats a good amount.  She eats a variety of good foods, some junk food, but I don't think to excess. Last summer she dropped a few pounds, not on purpose, I think she just wasn't eating as much from some butterflies in the tummy over a boy. I took her to the doctor, who ran some tests, but found nothing wrong medically, but was worried because of the drop. I had her eating every 2 hours for a few weeks until her weight got back up to what is generally normal for her (95 pounds at 5'5" which is still very thin.) However, one of our theatre director's pointed out that until she puts some meat on her it is going to hold her back from playing lead roles. (I know that sounds kind of rude, but we know him well, he has worked with DD in theater productions for about 5 years now and has been very helpful in guiding her.)  Anyways, he is right. She dances about 10 hours or so a week, but she just seems to have one hell of a metabolism.  I am looking for thoughts on if and how to build up some muscle on her. Especially her upper body. I used to work in a gym as a trainer/aerobics instructor, but I am hesitant to push weight training on her.  I am trying to add Boost drinks for extra calories and protein. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas, or even if you think I should just leave her be, after all, at 16, she needs to take charge of what she wants.
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Mom2Girls

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Does the director suspect an ED? I know you say she eats plenty, but I'm wondering if he is worried? If not, what reason did he give?

I have one daughter whose weight is worrisome. The doctor's advice? Ice cream before bed every night.[rolleyes] I am interested to see what kind of advice you get.
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tendumom

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Where is she as far as puberty goes? Does she have a regular period yet? Breast development? The doctor evaluated her from a medical standpoint, but did s/he screen for EDs too?  Not that this shouts ED or anything, but it should raise some concern. Obviously, she is naturally thin, but the stats you mention put her weight around the 1st percentile for her age and height when she is at her "normal" weight. 

I am a little concerned about leaving it her hands because at 16 she still has a growing body and can deal with the implications of insufficient nutrition and body fat later in life. Bone density, for instance, is heavily influenced by the teen years. Poor kid has no reserve if she gets sick! As much as you don't want to influence body image issues, this does become a health issue, so some extra protein and calories is not a bad idea IMHO. My dd has never been at that end of the spectrum as that is not her body type, but when she is in particularly intense rehearsal periods and some summer programs, she has supplemented with various drinks like Boost, Ensure and the Kellog's version. I cannot remember which ones she liked the best. We had to buy a few until we found some she liked. She'd sometimes use them as a base for a smoothie, adding in some frozen fruit and sometimes veggies as a snack after class. 
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theyarg

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom2Girls
Does the director suspect an ED? I know you say she eats plenty, but I'm wondering if he is worried? If not, what reason did he give?


Not sure how to quote you and then answer... here goes.


I work with him in the same school as well. He is trying to help guide her/us since she wants to major in musical theatre. I don't think he suspects ED since we talk regularly at lunch, and that wasn't the vibe I got from him at all. It was more like career advice. He was complimenting her dancing and her growth as a singer.
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theyarg

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To answer tendumom, her periods are still not regular, but she didn't even start until she was 14 1/2.
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cynmckee

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Reply with quote  #6 
I think there are a lot of ideas out there.

http://www.momsteam.com/nutrition/five-tips-help-your-skinny-child-bulk-up

http://teens.lovetoknow.com/Fast_Ways_for_Teenagers_to_Gain_Weight

Lot of it is kind of what you would expect.


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melissa745

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I would think the best way to address this would be a dietician that works specifically with athletes and/or dancers. She may need to gain weight, but it should be healthy weight in a healthy way.

A dietician will also be able to screen her better for EDs, since she will have more intimate knowledge of what she's eating and when.
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tendumom

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To answer tendumom, her periods are still not regular, but she didn't even start until she was 14 1/2.


So some of this will likely change as she gets further into puberty. 

Her periods may also not be regular not just because she is still in the earlier stages of development than other 16 yr olds, it may also be her lack of body fat, especially with the weight loss this summer (that whole lack of reserve). I definitely agree that getting her to add some healthy calories to her diet is a good idea right now. 

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emmymom

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Reply with quote  #9 
I really think overly obsessing about her food intake can become an issue.  I'd be careful about how much you "encourage" her to eat.

Has she always been a 10%-er?  I mean all of her life has her growth pattern been in the tenth percentile? 

My DD is 18, 5'4"ish and not 100lbs yet.  Yes, she is very thin, but she's always been very thin.  She's always been a 10%-er. 

There is a big difference between "normal" weight and "average" weight; some kid's normal is below the "average" weight.  As long as her weight has been relatively consistent, then she's probably just going to be thin.  She will add muscle eventually. 

There is no reason that she can't be doing arm work at her age.  DD goes to the gym fairly regularly (not as often now that comp season is in full swing) but she works on some strength training in addition to cardio.

My pediatrician once told me that I can never make my 10% child a 50% child (nor should I try) unless I force them to eat, which no one should really do because that can cause all kinds of trouble as well. 
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diglass

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You mentioned that she lost weight. Losing weight can be a red flag for gastrointestinal issues. This happened to my d several times through out childhood and it was always shrugged off as reflux. Turns out she probably had Celiac disease all along. Celiac disease can cause malabsorption which can lead to muscle wasting, in which one can look thinner and/or lose weight. I had no idea this could happen as I watched my teenage son drop 15 lbs over a span of time and he just looked thinner all the time, but we knew he was eating. We knew something was off but no idea what. One of my children had no painful symptoms before being diagnosed, just low iron. Just something to consider that can be checked with a simple blood test. 
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #11 
We have had some luck with adding protein powder to smoothies or milkshakes when the kids are working out so much they are losing muscle off their already thin frames. Good luck.
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prancer

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Reply with quote  #12 
And carnation breakfast essentials chocolate powder in milk is a big hit! Dd just asked me to buy some more.
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carriesmom

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Reply with quote  #13 
My DD went through a really skinny phase in late middle school, when she had a huge growth spurt and got a lot taller but didn't really gain any weight.  The issue resolved itself when she finally got her period (right before she turned 15), but in the meantime she focused on eating 3 meals a day plus 2 or 3 healthy snacks.  One of those snacks was usually a protein bar or a protein shake (she really liked the Arbonne vanilla protein powder shake mixed with almond milk and some fruit).  She also ate a lot of peanut butter which gives a little calorie boost.

I am with Diglass on mentioning it to your pediatrician, just in case there is something medical going on.  With my DD it was just a growth spurt combined with a fast metabolism, but I did feel better about things after DD had some blood work done, particularly since thyroid issues and diabetes both run in my family.
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breezygirltx

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Reply with quote  #14 
Stay away from Boost-its just high fructose corn syrup and water. Food and protein shakes are the better way to go.
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MinnDanceMom

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Reply with quote  #15 
I agree that a good nutritionist who has experience working with athletes is a good way to go. There are lots of ways to add heathy calories if that is the problem. There could be an underlying health issue too - celiac disease is one that really stands out but it is not the only one. Hopefully, it is just a fast metabolism and not an underlying health condition. Good luck!
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jazzminesun81

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Reply with quote  #16 
When DD was 5, our pediatrician gave us a list of things to do as DD was in danger of dropping out of the chart altogether lol. The highest percentile for weight she'd ever been at that point was 25%, and the percentile just kept dropping, so our pediatrician suggested the following:

Carnation instant breakfast mixed into her milk
Full fat milk and cheeses
Offering food every couple of hours (to solve for the problem of DD being so active she didn't want to stop and eat)

She's fine now. She's at the 44th percentile for height and 20th for weight. 
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Suzit42

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Reply with quote  #17 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theyarg
To answer tendumom, her periods are still not regular, but she didn't even start until she was 14 1/2.


DD16 didn't start until this past December. Doctor attributed it to the amount of dance. She said she has swimmers who menstruate during off season but not during season. Is there any "off" season for your DD?
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Psmom

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Reply with quote  #18 
At 16 I don't see any reason not to add some weight training to her fitness plan. It'll help
help her develop her core and even her bone density which will benefit her for life. I wouldn't focus on calories and food
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