Should our diet be based on our height?


Short woman with tall man

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ABC’s “Extreme Weight Loss” reality television show followed the transformation of a woman short in stature during the episode that aired on Aug. 12.

Sara spent her life being tormented by others, specifically for her height, and the bullying only increased as she put on more and more weight. At about 150 pounds overweight, Sara sought the help of the “Extreme Weight Loss” experts.

The show centers upon the personal lives, fitness goals, challenges and the “big reveal” of the person seeking help. There also are scenes where doctors and nutritionists provide specific medical and nutritional advice. For Sara and her small stature, she was told that she’d have to make every single calorie that she put into her body count. Every. Single. Calorie.

That advice was given to someone on a show titled “Extreme Weight Loss,” so of course the information is jarring. But it brings up an excellent point. The basics of healthy eating include nutrients, variety, portion size, frequency and calorie intake/burn. We all know this, especially if we’re trying to lose or maintain our weight. But what about eating for our height? You would be foolish to think that there is no difference between the diet of a 5-foot tall woman and her 6-foot friend. So what tips can help each of us — long or petite — stay on track? Let’s explore the specifics of eating for our height — be that short in stature, tall in frame and everything in between.

Let’s get this out of the way right now: Yes, everyone knows that height is key, along with age and gender, in assessing a healthy weight through the Body Mass Index (BMI). What we’re talking about is a shift in thinking about nutrition based on one’s height.