What Is Underweight?

What Is Underweight?

By Charles Joseph | Editor, Financial Affairs
Reviewed by Corey Michael | Senior Financial Analyst

Underweight is a term used to describe a condition where a person’s body weight is lower than what is considered normal or healthy for their height. In terms of Body Mass Index (BMI), an underweight person would typically have a BMI of less than 18.5. Being significantly underweight can lead to a variety of health problems, such as nutritional deficiencies, decreased immunity, and fertility issues.

Related Questions

1. What causes someone to be underweight?

Being underweight can be caused by several reasons, including illness, metabolic disorders, lack of nutrient-rich food, or eating disorders like anorexia. Some people might have a naturally lean frame and fast metabolism that requires them to eat more in order to gain weight.

2. What are the health risks associated with being underweight?

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Health risks of being underweight include fertility issues, weakened immunity, increased risk of infections, osteoporosis, and in some extreme cases, organ failure. It’s crucial to maintain a healthy weight to keep your body functioning properly.

3. How to tell if I’m underweight?

BMI is often used as a tool to quickly screen weight status. If your BMI is below 18.5, you might be underweight. However, BMI does not take into account factors like muscle mass and distribution of body fat. Professional healthcare providers use it in conjunction with other assessments to evaluate a person’s health status.

4. What can I do if I’m underweight?

If you are underweight, you should consult with a healthcare provider or nutritionist. They can help design a balanced diet plan that allows you to gain weight safely and ensure you are getting enough essential nutrients.

5. Can being underweight affect mental health?

Yes, being underweight can negatively affect mental health. Extreme thinness can affect the brain’s functioning and lead to feelings of depression, anxiety, and a poor self-image. People who are underweight due to an eating disorder especially are likely to experience these mental health problems.