An underweight person is a person whose body weight is considered too low to be healthy. Body mass index: Body mass index is a value derived from the mass and height of a person. The BMI is defined as a body mass divided by the square of the body height, and is expressed in units of kg/m2, Resulting from mass in kg and height in meters. BMI has got correlation with fatness. It may also be used as an indicator of health risk.
Using the body mass index as a measure of weight-related health, with data from 2014, age-standardised global prevalence of underweight in women and men were 9.7% and 8.8%, respectively. These values were lower than what was reported for 1975 as 14.6% and 13,8%, respectively, indicating a worldwide reduction in the extent of under nutrition.
A person may be underweight due to genetics, improper metabolism of nutrients, lack of food (frequently due to poverty), drugs that effect appetite, illness (physical or mental) or the eating disorder anorexia nervosa.
Being underweight is associated with certain medical conditions, including type 1 diabetes, hyperthyroidism, cancer, and tuberculosis. People with gastrointestinal or liver problems may be unable to absorb nutrients adequately. People with certain eating disorders can also be underweight due to one or more nutrient deficiencies or excessive exercise, which exacerbates nutrient deficiencies.
If you’re underweight, you may not be eating enough healthy foods with key nutrients to fuel your body. That can cause malnutrition. Over time, malnutrition can affect your health in a number of different ways that may be noticeable to you or those around you.
Your symptoms might include:
- feeling tired or drained of energy
- getting sick often or having trouble fighting off illness
- having irregular or skipped periods in females
- experiencing hair thinning or loss, dry skin, or teeth issues
If you’re underweight, you may be more likely to also be malnourished if your low BMI is caused by an unbalanced diet or an underlying disease that affects nutrient absorption. Malnutrition can also lead to anemia or a deficiency in essential vitamins. Anemia can also be caused by malabsorption of nutrients
Low body weight may increase your risk for low bone mineral density (BMD) and osteoporosis. Being underweight increases risk for osteoporosis.
By making a few tweaks to your diet and lifestyle, you can gain healthy weight and avoid the negative health effects of being underweight.
- Try eating smaller, more frequent meals. Add more snacks into your routine as well.
- Stick with foods that are rich in nutrients, like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds, and lean proteins.
- Pay more attention to what and when you’re drinking. Smoothies are a better choice than diet soda, coffee, and other beverages. You can fill them with fruits, vegetables, and dairy products.
- If drinks decrease your appetite, consider saving them for 30 minutes after you eat a meal.
- Get more calories in your meals by adding things like cheese, nuts, and seeds as toppings to main dishes.
- Start exercising. You can gain weight by adding muscle to your body. Working out may also help to stimulate your appetite.