National Eating Disorders Association

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My daughter disagrees about BMI

Hello everyone,
My 13 year old daughter was recently diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. She grew over 4 inches fairly recently (she is now 5' 4 1/2") and simultaneously slimmed down, so my wife and I though she had slimmed down due to rapid growth, so we didn't realize there was a problem with anorexia for several months. She later admitted she was going days at a time without eating or restricting to only X calories per day at times. She has been unable to complete her school work due to lack of focus, which has never happened before, so we had her placed on medical school leave. When we took her to the doctor, he checked her urine and she was dehydrated. I guess we caught this relatively early - her BMI was borderline of healthy weight when at the doctor. We took our daughter to a doctor who specializes in eating disorders, and she said our daughter needs to gain more weight to repair her brain and organs. My daughter disagrees, saying that a BMI of X is a "healthy" weight, so as long as she is at least at X, she is fine. We have a meeting with a nutritionist next week to discuss BMI in detail, but I was wondering if there is anything we should be telling our daughter in the mean time. She insists she only has to eat X calories per day with moderate exercise (based on online calorie calculators) to maintain her X BMI. What is normally recommended for calories at this point, and what are parents supposed to tell recovering children who argue that X BMI is healthy?

Welcome to the forums!

We are glad that you are finding support here on the NEDA forums. A portion of your post was edited due to the mention of numbers, specific behaviors and wording that may be triggering to other forum members. Our community guidelines are always available to review here In the event you need further assistance please call the NEDA helpline at 1-800-931-2237 (M-Th 9-9 F 9-5 EST).Again, thank you for posting, and we hope you will continue to do so!

Welcome to the forums!

Welcome to the forums! Sadly, we cannot provide medical advice. I would strongly advise contacting the NEDA helpline or chat line and they can provide you with resources. I would also seek the recommendations provided by medical practitioners.

As someone who was a teen when they had an eating disorder, the disorder is a manipulative and controlling disease and the victim believes they are "healthy" when in reality, they are not.

Please keep us posted and keep coming back. The forums are a safe place to seek support.

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