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Answers from the BJC Experts

Ask the BJC Expert allows you to get the answers you need about a variety of health, medicine and exercise issues to help you live a more healthy life.

Please browse the most recent questions below or use the search the questions feature to see if the answer to your question is already given. If not, please submit a new question for our experts.

I am a 5’4” 109-pound 17-year-old. I exercise at least 2 hours daily. I have been taking in less than 1,000 calories, but I want to increase so that I maintain my weight. How much should I be eating and how?

You definitely need more than 1,000 calories for adequate nutrition. I'm concerned that you have been undereating and putting your health on the line. At your age, you are still growing and need adequate nutrition to build strong bones. Your calorie needs will be higher because of your age, as well as considering the exercise you do.

Based on the information you provided, I calculate you need between 1,800 and 1,900 calories daily. Focus on eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, low-fat meat and dairy products — 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, 8-9 servings of whole grains, 2-3 servings of dairy products, 6 ounces of protein a day is a basic pattern. Add 3 servings of fat as well.

A serving size is: one small apple, 1/2 cup cooked vegetables, 1/2 cup of bran flakes, 1 cup of milk or yogurt, 3 ounces of meat (size of a deck of cards), 1 teaspoon of margarine.

Make an appointment to see a registered dietitian to look at your food intake. Learn more about nutrition counseling services at:

BJC dietitians also can be located by calling Help For Your Health at 314.747.7234.

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