Nutrition and Dietetics - Underweight - Food is a 'MUST'

The Community Nutrition Support Dietitians provide support to patients in their own homes, care homes and community clinics to improve their nutritional status.

Home visits are more suitable for those who are housebound or immobile.

Body Mass Index (BMI)

BMI is a measure that adults can use to see if they are a healthy weight for their height.

To calculate your BMI please see NHS Choices > BMI Indicator (www.nhs.uk/Tools/Pages/Healthyweightcalculator.aspx)

You are underweight if your BMI is 18.5 kg/m2 or less.

If your BMI falls within this category, you may be under-nourished or at risk of becoming under-nourished.

Under-nutrition can often be very difficult to recognise.

It can happen very gradually, which can make it very difficult to spot in the early stages.

Some of the symptoms and signs to watch out for include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss - clothes, rings, jewellery, dentures may become loose
  • Tiredness, loss of energy
  • Reduced ability to perform normal tasks
  • Reduced physical performance - for example, not being able to walk as far or as fast as usual
  • Altered mood - under-nutrition can be associated with lethargy and depression
  • Poor concentration

Food First Advice for Improving Nutrition leaflet

If you have concerns regarding your weight or recent weight loss, please speak to you GP for further advice and guidance.

If your BMI is within the underweight category, you may benefit from taking a multi-vitamin and mineral.

These can be purchased from pharmacies, supermarkets or health shops.

You are a healthy Weight if your BMI is 18.5 kg/m2-24.9 kg/m2

If your BMI falls within this category it is likely that you are a healthy weight for your height.

By being a healthy weight, you are at a lower risk of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes than if you were overweight or obese.

Remember, it's still important to eat a healthy, balanced diet and include physical activity in your daily life to maintain a healthy weight

'Help Yourself to Eat Healthily' - diet sheet

Further information 

How to refer to the Community Dietitians

Referrals to the service can be made via GPs, nurses or healthcare professionals. 

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