Medical Problems of Performing ArtistsMedical Problems of Performing Artists

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Some Nutritional Strategies for Healthy Weight Management in Adolescent Ballet Dancers

Elizabeth L. Snell
From: Medical Problems of Performing Artists: Volume 13 Number 3: Page 117 (September 1998)

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Abstract: Ballet dancers in today's society are often forced to deal with the multiple stresses of conforming to rigorous weight requirements, maintaining a low body weight, and consuming sufficient nutrients to fuel the body. Good nutrition practices are especially important for female adolescent ballet dancers since pubertal growth and development increase the need for both macro and micro nutrients. The training, however, demanded by ballet does not allow for the large calorie consumption required by other active pursuits. Thus, a dichotomy may exist between the goal to achieve a slender appearance to meet the ballet companies' requirements and the necessity to fulfill nutritional needs. It appears that ballet dancers who have never had prior problems with their weight tend to experience weight management difficulties about the age of 16 or 17 years, possibly related to delayed menarche. It has been theorized that girls need to attain a weight of about 105 lb and 17% body fat to experience menarche.1

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