Avoiding excessive weight gain in youth is key to sustainable health in adulthood. If you want to prevent obesity, diabetes, high blood pressures, and all their accompanying diseases, the DASH diet may pave a bright future for you - and for teenage girls, there is a better news.

DASH diet was initially targeted at reducing blood pressure for adults with hypertension. It is reputed as a highly efficient way to lower blood pressure, and in a significantly shorter period of time.

However, a recent study from Boston University Medical Center found that adolescent girls who follow a DASH diet are less likely to experience excessive weight gain and have lower BMIs (Body Mass Indexes) over a 10-year period than those who did not.

The relationship between the DASH diet and weight gain was studied in 2,237 teenage girls who were followed-up yearly for weight-for-height and diet information from age 9 to 19. They were participants in the Prospective National Growth and Health Study, and received training by a nutritionist to record their diet information, using standard household measuring instruments to estimate portion sizes.

As a result, girls with the highest DASH scores gained the least weight.

High DASH scores meant they followed the DASH diet eating plan. It emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grain products, fish, poultry, nuts, and fat-free or low-fat dairy products. It is reduced in lean red meat, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages compared to the typical American diet. DASH diet eating plan is rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, protein and fiber, while low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat.

The DASH diet is flexible and should meet the food preferences of most children, according to editorial staff in the research. They further recommended a 4 As approach to prevent excess weight gain in adolescence, TheHeart.org stated. The 4 As are: assess, advise, assist, and arrange for follow-up. Often the goal of pediatric obesity programs is not to reduce weight but to maintain current weight so that as the children grow, BMI will decrease; therefore, small changes can have a large impact.

In America, 17% of children are overweight, and more than 70% of adults are either overweight or obese. A good habit from childhood can prevent future woes, if that's a new lesson to learn.