A major breakthrough may have just been found for helping stem the tide of obesity in the U.S. Research has been conducted recently to find a way to help keep teenage girls from getting fat. By studying a group of 2300 teen girls, starting at age 9, and following closely related principles of the DASH diet, researchers have found that they are more likely to have a lower Body Mass Index than those who do not.
What Is the DASH Diet?
The DASH diet is one that is often prescribed for adults who are battling high blood pressure. This diet, also known as the Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension, is built upon the consumption of low-fat dairy products, fish, chicken, and very lean cuts of beef. Also included within this diet is fruits, vegetables, whole grain products and legumes. The DASH diet is recognized by doctors and the U.S. government as a viable treatment for high blood pressure.
The actual research involved 10 annual visits to a diverse range of socioeconomic and geographic locations. Researchers visited girls homes and conducted a survey about their eating habits. While the girls were not following the exact DASH diet, the information gathered revealed that they were close to the actual prescription. By eating a diet of healthy, whole foods, researchers found that their BMI of 24 was within normal range by the age of 18. However, girls who ate a lot of processed foods, snacks, and chips had a BMI of 26. This is considered obese by published standards.
The DASH Diet and Weight Loss?
One of the most intriguing findings of this research is that not only does the principles of the DASH diet seem to affect weight loss, but that this weight loss is not dependent upon low-calorie diets. Those girls in the study who ate lots of fruit and vegetables actually had a higher caloric intake that was 250 more than those who ate snacks and processed foods. While scientists are trying to figure out why that is, one answer could lie in the actual lifestyles of those in the study. Girls who ate a diet of low-fat dairy, healthy fruits and vegetables and lean meats were more active and did not spend a lot of time watching TV.
However, even those in the top 95% of the study did not follow a purely strict DASH diet. The surveys showed that they ate lower amounts of fruit and vegetables as those on a DASH diet while also consuming about 10% more sugar throughout the day.
DASH Helps Curb Weight Gain?
This study, though, is seen as a success in the eyes of researchers. One researcher from Boston University Medical Center told reporters that a simple diet can help teenage girls curb excessive weight gain when coupled with some physical activity. This message is important to today’s youth as they struggle more and more with low self-esteem and low confidence in their own body image.
[box type=”note”]Without the expensive fad diets, and by consuming more fruits and vegetables, girls can overcome obesity and weight disorders with better health.[/box]