Being overweight and issues relating to it is the rave of our world today, our eating habits can often quickly lead us to being on the plus side very quickly, being overweight is a big problem it can lead to a number of challenging health problems. But while being overweight has its associated complications, so does being underweight.
Who is underweight?
For someone to be referred to as being underweight, it means the individual has a Body Mass Index (BMI) under 18.5. Someone with BMI of 20 to 25 is said to be normal; someone with a BMI between 25 and 30 is said to be overweight, while someone with BMI above 30 is said to obese. If your BMI is under 18.5, you are just too underweight that you cannot afford to lose any extra pound of weight. Being underweight can affect both males and females.
Weight issues do not just occur, they come about through different factors, some of the factors that lead to being underweight include:
MALNUTRITION: We have been taught all about balanced diet early in life, there is a need indeed to eat all the micro and macro nutrients available in through our meals. Eating just one class of nutrients i.e. carbohydrates is malnutrition. Eating empty foods especially the ones we can refer to as junk food is malnutrition. While some people in some parts of the world suffer malnutrition due to poverty which in turn makes it difficult for them to access good nutritious food, others may suffer malnutrition through simply being negligent of what they consume.
ILL HEALTH: People who are ill may find that they are underweight, of course illness in itself means the body’s optimal function is being impaired, nutrients may not be well absorbed or utilized by the body. In this case the patient often returns to the ideal weight once the illness has been resolved.
EATING DISORDERS: Anorexia is a common eating disorder that makes people become underweight, anorexia can be lack of appetite as a medical condition, or it can be an obsessive desire to loose weight leading to refusal to eat food. The later is also an emotional/psychological state, such a person has an intense fear of gaining weight that they also have a fear of food. This state can be triggered by such things as pressure to look a certain way through peer pressure or a twisted notion about what the ideal body should look like or sometimes an experience of body shaming suffered maybe due to having been overweight which then leads to the obsession to loose weight and become thin. Anorexia patients begin to look sick and unhealthy, and some have been known to take it to levels that could become life threatening.
WHAT ARE THE DANGERS OF BEING UNDERWEIGHT?
If you are underweight, as described earlier, it simply means you are not consuming adequate nutrients in their right proportions. It may also mean you are losing more calories than you are consuming. Calorie is the fuel required by the body for normal body metabolism and for development of body tissues. Those who are underweight are usually those who are suffering from malnutrition. So, what are the real risks of being underweight?
- Inhibited development and growth: This occurs mostly in teens and children. Their body is in need of so much nutrients to grow and also stay healthy. Absence of the required nutrients will culminate into stunted growth of muscles and other body tissues.
- Fragile bone: Someone who is underweight is usually deficient of calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone development. This can lead to osteoporosis and weak bone, which in turn translates to being prone to bone injuries.
- Weakened immune system: Your body requires energy to fight off illness and infections. Inadequate intake of right food, which leads to being underweight, will surely lead to inability of the body to fight off infections and illnesses. The fact is a weakened immune system can lead to death.
- Anemia: Anemia is the blood volume below normal. This can be due to a number of reasons including lack of folic acid (folate), Vitamin B 12 and iron. These macro nutrient are very important for the formation of red blood cells, which are the main cells making up the human blood. It will result into headaches, fatigues and dizziness. These nutrients are obtained from the foods consumed day to day. Failure to consume the foods will result in being anemic.
- Fertility problems: Low body weight can result into irregular menstrual flow in women. Lack of periods will result in infertility. Just as an excess amount of fat can also lead to infertility it is same with being underweight as the body requires some fat for hormonal functions.
- Hair loss: Being underweight can result into hair loss. It will make your hair fall off easily and the hair will thin out on your scalp. Aside this, being underweight can equally result into dry skin, which will make the skin peel off. The skin will become thin, the teeth will look unhealthy and the nails too.
Malnutrition must be treated seriously, we must make conscious efforts to feed ourselves and our families the right meals, we must also learn to love ourselves so much that the opinions of others does not begin to influence how we treat ourselves, when we learn this we would make physical and diet changes as a positive choice not a choice born out of pressure.
Get your health attitude right.