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Nutritional Issues with Adolescent Females

Becky is a 15-year-old female present in your office. For the past 6 months she has only been eating two meals per day and runs about 1 hour per day. She has little time to spend with friends because she is taking advanced classes and has to study every day. She goes to bed around 2 a.m. after finishing up her homework. She then wakes up at 7 a.m. and needs to be at school by 7:45 a.m. Her current height is 5'8" and weight is 116 pounds. Six months ago she thinks she weighed 130 pounds.

This is her current diet intake:

- 7:30 am: 8 oz. of tomato juice

- 12 p.m.: 2 pieces of whole wheat bread, 3oz of lunchmeat, and 2 slices of tomato

6 oz. of low fat yogurt

Bottle of water - 4 pm: 1 large banana (maybe)

- 7 pm: 1 cup of pasta

3 oz. of skinless chicken breast

¼ cup of marinara sauce

1 large salad (lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, and carrots), no dressing

Bottle of water

Describe one cognitive and one psychosocial change Becky may be experiencing as an adolescent.
What are at least two assessment techniques to determine Becky's nutritional status? Consider her height and weight, weight loss, and diet.
On average, how many calories would Becky need on a daily basis?
What nutrients would you make sure she is consuming?
What are two social factors that influence the food choices and nutrition status of adolescence?

Solution Preview

Adolescent girls have a more difficult time psychologically with the changes in their bodies during this final stage of puberty due to the increase in fat throughout the body, which lend itself to their feminine shape. Cognitively, adolescents are still undergoing synaptic pruning in the brain and serotonin decreases while dopamine increases. (Life Span Development, John W. Santrock 10th ed. 2006) This accounts for the rapid, unpredictable fluctuation in emotional stability or "mood swings". Also, during this time of cognitive development, areas of the brain that involve higher level cognitive function and emotion are continuing to develop and trigger more "gut" reactions and emotional responses to stimuli compared to adults. During this time frame, children of this age are also confronted ...

Solution Summary

With the stress of being an adolescent female, assuring proper nutrition and healthy behaviors is essential. Calculating proper nutritional intake, assessing psychosocial behaviors and cognitive development, and understanding how the adolescent brain develops is crucial in assuring a healthy individual.