Risks of Being Underweight

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While the notion that being overweight is unhealthy, the notion of being underweight should also be linked with being damaging to one’s health, as well. The negative health factors associated with being underweight are of equal status in comparison to being overweight. BMI (body mass index) is a measurement used to measure a person’s body fat, according to Better Health Channel. When a person is below 18.5 BMI, he is considered underweight, reports MedBroadcast.


There are several reasons why a person may be underweight including being naturally thin, medications or medical problems. Conditions such as anorexia, bulimia, hyperthyroidism, cancer, tuberculosis, diabetes, depression, inflammatory bowel disease and HIV/AIDS may all lead to the development of being underweight, according to iloveindia.com.

Risk Factors

The adverse health factors linked to being underweight include many negative side effects. Developing osteoporosis (brittle and weak bones) is very common in underweight people. The lack of calcium and vitamin D in one’s diet leads to osteoporosis. Also, the immune system’s ability is largely weakened due to malnutrition, leaving one’s body at a high risk of being sick and not being able to fight it off properly. Anemia also is prevalent in people who are underweight, because insufficient iron causes fatigue, chest pain and the inability to breathe properly.


Women may experience infertility, because being below the normal weight level causes ovulation to not work properly, according to LifeTips. Also, if one over exercises or starves oneself, the menstruation cycle may stop temporarily (amenorrhoea) until a healthy diet and living style are resumed.


A National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, conducted from 2003 to 2006, found that about 3 per cent of U.S. children were underweight, reports HealthNews. Children below the normal weight level may exhibit signs of becoming sick frequently, feeling weak and tired, have difficulty concentrating and have a possible stunt in growth or a postponed growth spurt, according to MyHealth.


In older people that are underweight, the negative affects include malnourishment, osteoarthritis, an unhealthy immune system, the weakening of muscle strength, a poor memory and hypothermia (the body is not able to hold warmth).

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