Being at Your Best

So how much should I weigh?

water• We are all made up of over 50% water so many weight changes especially big swings up or down are likely to be water not fat.

• It takes a fluctuation of a minimum of 3000kcal for weight to change up or down by 0.5kg.

• The typical daily intake for a female dancer is approximately 2000kcal and 2650kcal for a male dancer.

• Men of the same weight and height need to eat more than women.

• Body Mass Index is a ratio that is used to help decide whether an individual’s weight falls within a healthy range or not.

• BMI is not a measure of fat content; higher BMI than expected may be due to a higher muscle, rather than fat, content.

• Remember: it is necessary for women to have a higher body fat ratio than men.

• Being too light/thin is unhealthy and results in health problems.

• In general, the shorter and lighter you are at your natural healthy weight, the less fuel you need.

• This doesn’t mean you can never eat chocolate, crisps or ice-cream but they need to be kept as an extra once the protein, low fat carbohydrates, vegetable and fruit have been included.

• Food eaten later in the day is no more ‘fattening’ than at other times despite popular myth.


– Challis, J, 2004. If I have to weigh THAT much I’ll have to change career…, Dance UK News, Issue 52.


Keeping Your Bones Healthy

milk• A balanced diet provides all the vitamins and minerals required to develop and maintain strong bones.

• Regular intake of calcium and vitamin D are essential to bone health. The recommended daily intake (RDI) for calcium in adults is 700mg. No RDI for vitamin D is set for healthy young adults in the UK. Most of the requirement for vitamin D is obtained by the action of the sunlight on the skin during the summer months.

Bone structure

• The bones in our skeleton are made of a thick outer shell and a strong inner honeycomb mesh of tiny struts of bone.


• Osteoporosis means some of these struts become thin, which makes bone more fragile and prone to break after a minor bump or fall.

• Bones stop growing in length between the ages of 16 and 18, but bone density continues to increase slowly until a person is in their mid 20s.

• During childhood, adolescence and early adulthood, when the skeleton is growing, it is vitally important to maximise bone strength to put the skeleton in a better position to hold out against the natural bone loss that occurs later in life.

Untitled2• You can do this by taking plenty of weight bearing exercise and eating a well balanced calcium-rich diet.

• After the age of 35, bone loss increases very gradually as part of the natural ageing process.

• During the menopause (and during the absence of menstruation) the ovaries produce lower levels of the female hormone

oestrogen which is essential for bone health. After menopause the rate of bone loss that starts in the 30s accelerates, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

• Smokers have a significantly increased risk of having a fracture.

Exercise/physical activity

• Physical activity can delay the progression of osteoporosis by slowing the rate at which bone mineral density is reduced from the late 20’s onwards.

• Professional tennis players may have more than 25% higher bone density in their serving arm compared to their non-serving arm demonstrating that the effect of physical exercise on bones is both site and force specific.

– National Osteoporosis Society website. 2009. Osteoporosis Facts and Figures V1.1 (PDF Download) [Online] (Last revised 7 February 2006) Available at:
[Accessed 2 October 2009].

– Thomas, B & Bishop, J eds., 2007. Manual of Dietetic Practice, 4th Ed. Oxford: Blackwell.

The National Osteoporosis Society: