Peter Hibberd, M.D., is a doctor whose advice is based on more than 28 years of hospital outpatient and inpatient experience. He is an experienced emergency medicine physician, surgeon, and consultant. Dr. Hibberd is certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He is also a fellow and active member of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American College of Emergency Physicians, and a member and fellow of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine. Dr. Hibberd has earned numerous national and international professional certifications, memberships, and awards.
Tags: calories | BMI | thin | nourishment | nutrients

Is My Wife Eating Enough?

Thursday, 10 May 2012 05:55 PM

Question: My wife is very thin and to me it seems like she hardly eats anything. I recently totaled her day’s calories and she ate only about 1,200 calories a day. She is 5-foot-2 and weighs only about 100 pounds. Is she getting enough nourishment?

Dr. Hibberd's answer:
It is difficult to set absolute bottom calorie levels because everyone has different body composition and their needs are based on their activity levels. Most guidelines recommend a baseline of 1,200 calories per day for women. Since obesity is now reaching epidemic proportions, it is better to be aware of individual calorie needs, and limit calories when needed. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans of 2010 recommend nutrient-dense foods and beverages within and among the basic food groups while choosing foods that limit the intake of saturated and trans fats, cholesterol, added sugars, salt, and alcohol, and meet recommended intakes within energy needs by adopting a balanced eating pattern, such as suggested by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Guide or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) Eating Plan. In addition, engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, above usual activity, at work or home on most days of the week.
In your wife’s case, although she seems to be taking in the recommended calories per day, her BMI (body mass index) works out to be 18.3 which is slightly below the recommended normal BMI of 18.5 (up to 24.9). She can discuss her nutritional status in detail with her doctor or nutritionist.

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