Gaining weightin a safe manner
Q. Unlike most teen-age girls, I'd like to gain a few pounds. What can I eat or do in my diet to put on a few extra pounds?
A. You're right, most adolescent women don't want to gain weight. Assuming that you are healthy and don't have gastrointestinal symptoms such as chronic stomachaches or diarrhea (which could indicate a medical problem), then adding extra calories will help you gain weight.
Although everyone's metabolism (how they use energy) is slightly different, for most people it takes about 3,500 calories extra to gain 1 pound of weight. The food label on all prepared foods will provide nutrition information that includes the calories for one serving (remember to check to see how many servings are included in the container). For example, here are the approximate number of calories in some common foods: 1 cup of whole milk, 150; 1 cup 1 percent milk, 100; 10 oz. chocolate milkshake, 350; 1 cup low-fat yogurt, 127; medium-size apple, 125; and regular cheeseburger, 300. So if your metabolism is like most people's, if you ate an extra medium-size apple each day and had a milkshake each evening, it would take about a week to gain a pound of weight.
It also might be a good idea to check with your doctor and ask for a referral to a registered dietitian who understands adolescents.
XTo have TeenGrowth's board of physicians answer your health question, visit the Web site (http://www.teengrowth.com) or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. TeenGrowth is a noncommercial Internet site that focuses exclusively on the educational health issues of adolescents.