Are you underweight?

If someone has a body mass index (BMI) below their healthy weight range it may mean that they are underweight. Some people may be naturally slender due to genetics and are still healthy; but for some individuals, being underweight may indicate that nutritional needs are not being met. Eating a variety of healthy foods each day helps us meet our nutritional needs.

Some people have special nutritional needs that make it important to choose foods more carefully to prevent weight loss and malnutrition.

These include people with:

  • Poor appetite
  • An illness or disease that increases requirements such as cancer, HIV or lung disease
  • Eating disorders.

An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can assess anyone who is underweight or has lost weight and may be at risk of malnutrition.

Eating a variety of foods will help to meet your nutritional needs. Some dietary areas may need special attention such as:

  • Energy to promote weight gain and health
  • Protein to build and repair body cells and prevent muscle wastage
  • Vitamins and minerals to assist cell function and promote good health.

Some ideas that can help boost nutritional intake in order to meet requirements include:

  • Eating small frequent meals throughout the day
  • Having full-cream milk drinks between meals
  • Adding unsaturated fat food sources such as oil or avocado to food in cooking
  • Adding skim milk powder to soups, stews and drinks (skim milk powder has a higher protein content than regular milk powder)
  • Adding grated cheese to cooked foods
  • Snacking on high energy foods such as cheese and wholegrain crackers, nuts and dried fruit during the day.
An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can provide expert nutrition and dietary advice to help meet nutritional needs and achieve a healthy weight.