Trible (tamtrible) wrote in little_details,

Physical condition of half-starved teen

I'm not sure how to research this, but I'm mostly going for a plausibility braincheck in any case (roleplaying character)

Setting: dystopian near-future US

My character is 16. After about 12 years of subpar but basically adequate food, medical care, and so forth (think bad foster homes/orphanages--she was usually hungry, but never seriously malnourished), she ran away. This resulted in an even worse diet, and basically no medical or dental care other than home first aid and possibly teeth-brushing. She does not, however, either use drugs (beyond the *very* occasional social drink or joint) or enter into the sex trade.

I figure that, under "normal" first-world type conditions, she would have been slender, about 5'6", and have (or would previously have had) braces. But I'm trying to figure out what inevitable or highly probable results her actual background would have on that potential. I also need to figure out what will happen once she gets proper food and so forth for a while. Assume reasonable luck of the genetic draw re: disease resistance, cavity resistance, and so forth. (If her ethnic background matters at all, she's pretty mixed, though with Native American prominent in the mix)

As she's currently configured in my mind, she's thin to the point of looking almost skeletal/anorexic, with lank, brittle hair. Her teeth are crooked enough to look unaesthetic, though not enough to seriously impede anything. She's about 4'11" (which would make her weight, what, about 80 pounds?). She has a couple of visible scars (either from abuse before she ran away, or fights after). She gets cold absurdly easily, and is nearly phobic about cold conditions from an incident where she nearly died from hypothermia (a friend noticed that she'd stopped shivering, and warmed her up with body heat and every available blanket). She's flat-chested, and quite possibly hasn't started menstruating. She could pass for 12 with very little effort.

I know that there's potentially serious medical dangers when she first gets an adequate diet, but luck, knowledge on the part of her compatriots and/or divine intervention (the game is Scion, she's the child of a god) may help with that part. Similar handwaving may take care of specific long-term physical health effects possibly associated with starvation during adolescence--or, at least, they shouldn't be terribly relevant for my purposes.

I suspect that, once she starts eating regularly, she'll gain weight, up to low-end-normal (90 or so, unless and until she gains some height). She'll start (or restart) normal pubertal development She'd probably grow a bit more, too, and end up (a year later) about 5'1" and 95-100 pounds. Her hair and skin will start to look better.

So. Anything about her physical (or, for that matter, psychological) condition that seems unlikely? Anything Vitally Important I seem to have forgotten? Any advice about nuance or detail?...
Tags: ~medicine: starvation/malnourishment

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