Katherine Church

Katherine Church, RD, worked as a clinical dietitian in teaching hospitals in the Chicago area for 10 years. Currently the Executive Director of the Certifying Board for Dietary Managers, she has worked for Dietary Managers Association (DMA) for the past 20 years, heading up their national certification program.

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Dear Ms. Church,
My father has lost over 30% of his body weight. Does this change his caloric needs or medications?

Absolutely it changes things! First and foremost, talk with your father’s doctor about the weight loss and his medications. Without knowing details about his medical history and condition, specific recommendations aren’t possible, but most likely he would be able to change doses on medications, and possible discontinue some. Neither of these things should be done without a physician ordering the change and exact dosages.

If your father’s weight loss was intentional and a good thing, congratulations to him! If the goal is to maintain at the current weight, yes, his caloric needs would decrease. An appropriate calculation and/or meal plan can be developed by a Registered Dietitian (RD). If the weight loss was unintentional and he needs to gain it back, his caloric needs would increase. Again, an RD could develop a plan to incorporate the right amount of calories, protein and other nutrients, based on his specific medical and nutritional needs. Ask the physician to recommend an RD, or contact your local hospital for a consultation.