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The phenomenon of nutrition has recently become one of the most significant aspects of public health promotion. The sensitive topic of weight and diet is greatly influenced by a social factor of body image and deceptive objectification of the human body and healthy weight parameters. The issue has become challenging among teenagers, especially females, as they are highly pressured by society’s expectations and social media. As a result, they suffer from a variety of eating and mental disorders (Hinojo-Lucena et al. 2). Another challenge associated with weight discrepancies among teenagers is the patterns of family relationships and ethnic affiliation, as these factors contribute significantly to one’s eating habits and genetic predisposition for weight patterns. In terms of the present paper, a proper dietary intervention will be outlined for a 14-tear-old Hispanic girl with obesity.
Background and Rationale
The individual chosen for the present intervention is a 14-year-old female Mexican teenager, being a first-generation Mexican immigrant, as her father is Mexican and moved to the US at the age of 22. At her age, the girl weighs 145 pounds (~65 kg) with a 50% percentile for a 14-year-female constituting 100-115 pounds (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC]). Considering that the girl’s height corresponds to the 50% percentile for her age, it becomes evident that she requires rapid reconsideration of her diet in order to avoid potential health challenges catalyzed by obesity. According to the researchers, Hispanic adolescents are statistically more predisposed to diabetes, other chronic diseases, substance abuse, and, consequently, obesity (Vega-López et al.). These health predispositions are primarily caused by various socio-economic factors, including parents’ negligence, economic instability, lack of access to proper nutrition, and implicit or explicit discrimination.
As a result, when planning a dietary intervention, it is of paramount importance to take into account one’s support system within such fundamental social environments as family and school. Primary research focused on finding regularities between Hispanic adolescents’ family functioning and physical activity and a healthy diet proved the family set to be a decisive factor in maintaining one’s diet (Lebron et al. 338). Thus, the present diet planning will closely consider the patient’s communication with family and its influence on one’s nutrition.
The evaluation of the patient’s current eating habits was conducted with the help of a nutrition quiz presented by the governmental resource called “MyPlate.” The patient’s eating goals were identified as follows:
- Reaching a healthy weight for her age;
- Increase overall health state and well-being;
- Feeling better about herself.
When it comes to maintaining healthy nutrition, the patient claims to have no support system from the family, and she does not know the ways to secure a healthy diet on her own. The patient eats fruit very seldom and drinks fruit juices with high sugar contents. The intake of all groups of vegetables (dark green, orange) is occasional. The grains group intake is considered to be the highest, as it is a major part of the meal prepared both by family members and school chefs. Whole grains are consumed quite rarely. Protein food is taken occasionally when the family members have time to prepare the meal at home. The patient does not like seafood, so she barely eats any products represented in the group. The girl consumes much dairy on a daily basis during breakfast and snacks at school. Finally, she consumes a lot of fast food and sugary products, as family members set no limitations on their intake and encourage such eating behavior by setting a personal example.
When planning a healthy diet for the patient, the first thing to consider would be the evaluation of the levels of sodium, added sugar, and saturated fat intake. The sodium and added sugar levels are considerably higher than the allowed consumption norms due to frequent intake of sugary snacks, sugar-sweetened beverages, fast food, and fried meal. Thus, the first dietary intervention would be to cut out the intake of beverages containing added sugar and replace them with 100% fruit juice. The intake of sugary snacks should be reduced at least by half, and sugar cravings may be fulfilled by fruit (fresh, frozen, or dried).
The consumption of saturated fats relies greatly on one’s intake of dairy products. Since a major part of the patient’s current diet consists of meat and fat dairy, the overall saturated fats intake exceeds the norm of 5-6%. For this reason, another diet recommendation would be to shift to low-fat dairy and poultry. Hence, when it comes to a diet plan, it would look as follows:
- 50% of the daily meal should consist of vegetables;
- Fruit and whole grains are recommended for breakfast;
- Fast food and sugar-containing beverages are to be eliminated from the diet;
- The intake of sodium should be reduced by the limited consumption of processed foods and salt-free seasonings.
Furthermore, considering the age of the patients and the findings of the primary research, the family’s involvement in the process of securing proper nutrition plays the most important role. The creation of a support system in terms of dieting is crucial for an adolescent in a challenging social setting.
“MyPlate | U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Myplate.gov, 2020. Web.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “BMI Calculator Child and Teen.” CDC, 2021. Web.
Hinojo-Lucena, Francisco-Javier, et al. “Problematic Internet Use as a Predictor of Eating Disorders in Students: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis Study.” Nutrients, vol. 11, no. 9, 2019. Web.
Lebron, Cynthia N., et al. “Effects of Parent-Adolescent Reported Family Functioning Discrepancy on Physical Activity and Diet among Hispanic Youth.” Journal of Family Psychology, vol. 32, no. 3, 2018, pp. 333-342.
Vega-López, Sonia, et al. “Methods and Rationale to Assess the Efficacy of a Parenting Intervention Targeting Diet Improvement and Substance Use Prevention Among Latinx Adolescents.” Contemporary Clinical Trials, vol. 89, 2020. Web.