Inside Nicole Richie's Weight Crisis

Concerned about her shrinking frame, she tells PEOPLE, "I'm getting the help I need"

In recent weeks, Nicole Richie’s weight had dropped to around 90 lbs. – making her extremely thin, even at 5’2″. So when she announced her decision to seek treatment for her weight issues, those close to her were relieved.

“She’s gonna be fine,” dad Lionel Richie, who had urged his daughter to seek help, tells PEOPLE in its new issue. “She’s worrying me to death, but she’s gonna be okay.”

Her rep told PEOPLE on Oct. 26 that Richie had decided “to undergo diagnostic treatment to determine why she’s not been putting on any weight,” but stressed, “this is not a treatment for an eating disorder.”

Indeed, Richie, 25, has for two years steadfastly denied that she has an eating disorder. “She’s tired of everyone saying, ‘You don’t eat,’ because she does,” says a source close to her.

As part of her new treatment, her rep says she is “working with a team of doctors and specialists whose focus is nutrition.” She has sought similar help before, telling Vanity Fair in June that she was consulting a nutritionist and a doctor about her weight.

Her program is not in-patient: Only two days after her announcement, Richie was spotted out at the L.A. hot spot Hyde Lounge and on Oct. 30 lunched with a friend at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

Even so, producers of her reality series, The Simple Life, which was scheduled to resume production Nov. 6, have agreed to delay shooting until she is fit for duty. (Richie now tells PEOPLE, “I’m ready to go back to work,” though the studio has not decided whether to stick to the original schedule.)

And she has plenty of other work to look forward to. In addition to The Simple Life, Richie has a deal with 20th Century Fox TV to star in a sitcom inspired by her life. “She’s got great charisma,” says Fox TV studio president Dana Walden. “Everyone is always rooting for her.”

But one thing is most important, Richie tells PEOPLE: “I’m focusing on my health right now, and getting the help I need, like anybody else would.”

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