Underweight is a term used in describing an individual whose weight is below the recommended weight for his/her height and also has inadequate body fat to sustain the body. The BMI calculation is used in determining whether an individual is underweight or not. A person is underweight when their BMI falls below 18.5.
Having a BMI below 18.5 can pose risk to an individual’s health. Being underweight can weaken a person’s immune system, make their bones fragile, make them feel tired most of the time, and even cause fertility problems in women.
What factors contribute to underweight?
Generally, one or more of the following factors tend to contribute to underweight.
- Completely starving or eating little food, and therefore providing little energy for the body.
- Eating a monotonous diet, usually because meals are not planned, can contribute to loss of appetite and therefore eating little or no food.
- A state of ill health can contribute to loss of appetite or a difficulty in eating.
- Constipation can lead to loss of appetite and therefore eating little or no food.
- Stress and other emotional problems may contribute to loss of appetite and changing eating pattern, which can result in eating little or no food.
- Wanting to have a thin body shape, to fit the expectations of society, peers or the media.
- Busy schedules making you skip breakfast and lunch and sometimes eating little or no food.
- Eating disorder like anorexia, bulimia etc.
- Medical conditions such as hyperthyroidism.
As there are health implications for being underweight, we should all aim to maintain a healthy weight.
Last page review: 22/03/2016
Next page review: 22/03/2018