Anyone who’s been a teen lives with a teen or even knows a teen understands the teenage years can be challenging for all concerned. For teenage girls, those challenges include an often-unhealthy focus on body image and weight. The all-too-common consequence: unhealthy eating habits, particularly not eating enough. While this can have dire health results for any teen girl, in female teen athletes, the results can be even worse. Here’s why.
Teen girls who exercise too much and eat too little may be at risk for health problems because that pattern can be associated with what’s been labeled the “female athlete triad”: dietary issues, irregular or absent menstrual cycles, and osteoporosis. It all revolves around poor / inadequate nutrition, which can impact hormones and weaken bones.
So, how many calories should a teen athlete be eating on a daily basis? Believe it or not, up to 2,500; that’s 700 calories more than the recommended intake for sedentary teen girls. Many teen girls may not be getting enough calories regardless of whether they’re sedentary or active, emphasizing the importance of regular meals and snacks, even when your teen daughter is running from school to practice to homework at a frantic pace. Your doctor can tell you more about the “female athlete triad” and suggest ways to ensure your teen eats a balanced diet even on their busiest days.