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Changes in body shape in young dancers


Ja Sm
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I know that this is similar to the puberty topic, but I wanted to ask something a bit more specific. I am hoping that someone may have some thoughts or some experience of this. My dd, who is a few months off twelve has rapidly changed body shape. She has gone from being a more muscular build to being very slight. She has grown a little but lost weight too. I think she looks a little too slim, particularly compared with 6 months ago She is fit and healthy in all other respects and has a positive approach to her health and nutrition. I do not fear that she has any food issues. On the child growth charts (useful or not) , she is 25th percentile for both weight and height. We have taken advice from GP and ballet teacher, and are currently increasing her portions, encouraging more healthy snacks etc, thinking that maybe she doesn't get enough calories for the amount of exercise she does. No real signs of the onset of puberty.....at the risk of embarrassing her if she reads this! Have any of you had similar experiences with your daughters? Thank you.

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hi, i have exactly the same issue with my daughter..she is now 12 but alot slimmer than she was 12 months ago..she has lost an awful lot of weight...to the extent of people asking me if she is ok..or doing too much...to be honest its only been the past 12 months that she has stepped up the amount of classes she takes and her new teacher works her 3 times as hard as the previous one so she was bound to have lost a certain amount of weight...like you're daughter she is fit and healthy as had no time off school due to illness etc...her diet could be better..but her teacher has spoken to her about the importance of diet, protein etc and she seems to have taken this on board..she is nowhere near the puberty stage ..but then neither was i at her age and i was very thin too...not because of excercise it was just the way i was built...wish i could say the same now !!! lol...so i think she may have been quite slim anyhow...please try not to worry but if you are really concerned talk to you're GP again to put you're mind at rest.

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I don't know anything about nutrition and this is probably going against all the 'healthy eating' advice out there, but I can't help wondering if your dd is getting enough fat in her diet? I think it might be worth finding out, because I'm sure I read somewhere that fat is important in the diet of adolescent girls.

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The GP did recommend that so we are adding in extra dairy, yoghurts etc. we are only a couple of weeks in and ihe did suggest we gave it a couple of months before reweighing, so as not to get too preoccupied I suppose.

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HI yes id say it was about 7/8 lbs which is really noticeable on her...plus she is now so toned there doesnt look like there is an ounce of fat on her...i felt like i was justifying her weight loss to people constantly ..the only people who seem to understand were dance moms as their daughters are exactly the same.

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My dd was very slim up until she started her periods. I watched her doing ballet about a week ago after not seeing her for a while and was struck by how she had filled out. She is not fat but she seems to have a more solid look to her. I was always told by others she was close to anorexic, but as she was eating healthily I ignored them. I think it's just the way girls grow.

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Hi there. My daughter has always been on 25 th centile for weight and 75 th for height. She is ' long and lean' but when she was 11 I noticed she looked particularly 'gangly'. Has your daughter grown a lot in height recently? I was worried that my DD didn't eat enough although she ate really healthily and now can't fill her up!! She will be 13 in October and over the last few months she has hit puberty and is now really filling out and becoming more shapely. She is still tall and slim. I think as mums of DD's we do worry about eating/disorders but agree that not giving this a lot of attention is the best approach and just to encourage a healthy diet for their needs and like other posts have said, to substitute/enhance their diet to mert their needs.

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Having not really grown much for ages (she used to be tall next to her friends), she has probably grown 3 or 4 cm this year, but is still one of the smaller ones. Maybe there is more growing on the way and her body needs more food to help it? This seems to be the theory that I keep telling myself but don't have anything real to support it. She is very receptive about eating more/differently so at least I am not facing any battles.

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About 2 years ago my DD took a bit of a growth spurt (all of about 2 inches in as many months). This was at the time of the Swine Flu and her primary school closed early due to a concentration of suspected cases. As a precaution all the children who had been in close contact with those cases were prescribed a low dose of Tamiflu.

 

I provided DD's height, weight and DOB to the school doctor for them to prepare her prescription accordingly. When we went to the school to pick this up the Nurse advised that the Doctor wanted to speak to me and my DD. His concern was that my DD was 'malnourished(!)' due to her exceptionally low weight. To say I was appalled at his attitude when speaking to me about this is an understatement. I was just a little bit angry. I asked him if he knew my daughter or had he spoken to her teachers to identify if they had any concerns. He didn't and hadn't. At this point I asked him if he could point out the child he thought was malnourished from the group of children playing in the gym hall. He couldn't. (At this point DD was alternating between cartwheeling halfway round the hall then piroutting back to the start again.)

 

Taking a very deep breath I pointed out DD to him and then explained to him that she was a dancer, had just been accepted onto SB's JA programme, trained over 8 hours per week and also swam, did karate and ran or cycled everywhere. Also that she ate the same portion sizes as her father, had raw vegetables for snacks and in fact was a source of embarassment to me when we visited friends as she always had her head in their fridge looking for snacks - there was simply no filling her!

 

Very long story to say that in my opinion I wouldn't worry about what other people are saying/commenting - you know your DD and if she's healthy and eating the right balance then everything will balance out in the long run. My DD is still approx 4.5 stone, 4' 8", has her periods and is far more shapely than a number of her friends who are at different stages of development.

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It does seem that many health professionals often forget to look at the whole picture and just flag up cases based on actual figures. A friend of mine has been asked to take her son to hsospital for tests as the doctor thinks he is small for his age. However he is fit and healthy, eats a good balanced diet and is perfectly proportioned. More importantly both parents are TINY - Mum under 5' and Dad only just over 5' but this doen't seem to have been taken into account!!!

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I was recently shocked when my 11 year old dd brought a letter home from the school nurse saying she was underweight and we should be concerned ! Not only was I shocked but cross at the fact that she dances nearly everyday of the week and was low birth weight so has always been very slight. My daughter then kept looking in the mirror asking if she was too thin!

 

I think every child is different and they should take that into consideration, if she didn't exercise and sat watching tv all day stuffing sweets down her throat I would have probably got a letter saying saying she was obese and I should be concerned !!!

 

 

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Isnt it interesting watching our children growing? My elder dter, 14,is a mini me physically. Same build, almost the same proportions. I can watch her grow and know what she will look like. My 11 year old is physically nothing like me, more like her dad and then it's difficult to make comparisons isn't it? This recent change in shape.....I can't say, that's ok I did the same anther age. Mind you,I think even at their age I never had such flat abs...and certainly to now!

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Just to reassure you,Ja Sm :- Centiles were developed in the USA on purely bottle fed babies. They bear no resemblance to breast fed babies in this and doctors and health visitors always forget it and upset new mothers everywhere.Also, as has been said, parental heredity counts as well!

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I got a letter when DD left primary school to say that she was underweight for her height - however, they then added that they are aware that she is a dancer so will be on the slim side purely down to the amount of training she was doing, so they had no concerns.

She eats a lot (which is a relief as I am currently the opposite) and has a very healthy attitude towards food.

She, too, has filled out since starting her periods (at 14.5).

F x

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