The DASH diet (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) is usually prescribed for adults to help them control their high blood pressure. But a study finds that the eating program may also help teen girls gain less weight.
The diet, which emphasizes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat and nonfat dairy foods, lean proteins, nuts and limited amounts of fats and sweets, is said to lower blood pressure in adults even without reducing salt intake.
The new study focused on 2,379 girls who were ages 9 or 10 at the beginning of the study and followed them for 10 years. The participants were socioeconomically and geographically mixed, and blacks made up more than half the group.
Researchers devised a scoring system to determine how closely the participants came to eating a DASH-like diet. Those who adhered most closely to the DASH plan also had the lowest increase in body mass index (BMI) over the course of the study and the lowest BMIs at the end of the study. The highest DASH diet scorers also on average got more physical activity and watched less television and played fewer video games.