Weight loss is a serious problem in the United States. Consumers constantly see ads and news reports about modern diets, flashy products, and magic pills that promise to help them lose weight.
Since the current “battle against being overweight” is the biggest concern for so many people, being extremely thin may seem like a good problem. However, the reality is that being underweight can cause health problems.
Importance of having healthy weight
Fats have a bad reputation for making a person overweight and obese. However, not all fats are bad. In fact, decomposing energy (or calories) and storing it as fat is just one of many ways the body uses food to function, heal, and grow.
Energy stored as fat helps you complete strenuous work or physical activity. It also plays a key role in brain development and prevention of inflammation and blood clots. Fat also keeps hair and skin healthy.
It is important to understand that balance is key to maintaining a healthy body, whether you are overweight or underweight.
How do you know if you are underweight? Using a tool to calculate your body mass index (BMI) can help determine if you are underweight. Your family doctor can also help you determine if you are underweight based on your height, weight, what you eat, and your activity level.
Dangers of being underweight
People who are underweight usually do not incorporate enough calories to supply the body. They often also suffer from malnutrition because they are not getting enough vitamins or minerals from food. If you are underweight, you may be at risk for the following health problems:
Inhibition of growth and development. This applies especially to children and adolescents, whose bodies need abundant nutrients to grow and stay healthy.
The fragility of the bones. A deficiency of vitamin D and calcium along with a low body weight can cause weakness in bones and osteoporosis.
The weakening of the immune system. When you do not get enough nutrients, the body can not store energy and may also have difficulty fighting diseases. In addition, it can be difficult for your immune system to recover after being sick.
Anemia. This condition can be caused by iron deficiency, folate deficiency, and vitamin B12 deficiency, which cause dizziness, fatigue and headaches.
Fertility problems. In women, low body weight can lead to irregular periods, the absence of periods and sterility.
Hair loss. Low body weight can make hair thinner and fall off easily. It can also cause dryness and thinning of the skin, and dental health problems.