Sometimes we be come so focused on losing weight and the pervasive fear of becoming overweight and thus not healthy, that we totally forget about the flip side of the health coin. being underweight. Contrary to what has become popular belief, being underweight is just as dangerous as being overweight, the only difference is that one seems to be frowned on more than the other. However, being underweight. is actually incredibly dangerous and it is not a condition to strive for, instead, people should be working to meet and keep up a healthy normal weight.
So this week, we’re getting twisted and really exploring the many risks associated with the incredibly risky, health condition of being underweight.
A persons ideal, healthy body weight can vary depending on a variety of factors, including age, height, gender, bone density and frame size. Maintaining a weight that is below one‘s ideal weight range poses a number of health risks, including increased risk for infection, anaemia, osteoporosis and other conditions.
Officially to be deemed underweight, it means that your body mass index (BMI) is below 18.5. BMI can be calculated as your weight in kilo divided by your height in metres squared. This allows you to have an idea about where you are in terms of your weight to height ratio and your health.
So what are the issues that come from being underweight?
When one’s weight drops significantly, nutrient deficiency becomes a real and significant risk. Lack of vital nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and important antioxidants can put one at heightened risk of very serious diseases such as osteoporosis, which is when the bones become fragile or brittle and anemia, which is having a deficiency of iron in the body.
In fact, being underweight can indicate that there is a more serious problem developing in the body, as weight loss is a symptom of several varying diseases such as type II diabetes, depression and hyperthyroidism, cancer, tumours or immunity diseases.
However, don’t panic just yet, as being underweight is not always a sign of impending health problems as some people are simply this way, because they simply have less fat cells than others, resulting in less space for the body to actually store fat, or their metabolism may be very high. In any case, if you realize that you are losing too much weight or that you are below the 18.5 on the BMI, then you should consult a medical practitioner to make sure that you really are healthy.
Ironically just as overweight persons are struggling to lose weight, underweight persons struggle to gain weight. It is not as simple as eating everything in sight, and as always a physician should be consulted.
So what can you do?
It is all about the diet, try eating smaller meals more often throughout the day, to help you ingest more calories than normal. This diet should not be tilted with fatty foods but rather healthy, high fibre items like dried fruits, nuts, whole grain cereals. breads and low-fat dairy products.
Exercise is also an important part of gaining weight: it can help stimulate your appetite and build more muscle which weighs more than fat. Amazingly, this sounds very similar to the route people take to lose weight… The body is an amazing thing and we are all uniquely different. So be as healthy as you possibly can.