Independent of the underlying causes behind low weight, a very low BMI (such as BMI 17.4) can have serious health consequences.
People that are underweight tend to be very tired and prone to exhaustion. The lack of nutrients can also deplete the immune system, making a person much more susceptible to illnesses and infections. Low iron intake can lead to anemia, as state where less oxygen is carried in the blood, furthering their feelings of exhaustion and reducing organ function.
Without adequate nutrition, your body's immune system may not function properly.
Vitamins A and C are of particular importance to healthy immunity, and being underweight may mean you don't have enough reserves on hand to prevent illnesses from the common cold to cancer. Lowered immunity makes it difficult for your body to fight off viruses and bacteria that contribute to disease and sickness.
Females who don't weigh enough may not menstruate on a regular basis or at all. This might interfere with fertility now and down the road because your body's reproduction isn't regulated normally, which can skew ovulation and make it difficult to sustain a healthy pregnancy.
Conventional therapies for weight gain largely depend on the cause of the weight loss.
Certainly, if some sort of physical illness, such as a thyroid disorder or diabetes can be identified, treatment of these conditions can help restore the lost weight. For others, the most direct solution is increase in calorie intake.
To help begin restoring nutrients to very thin people, very high calorie, vitamin-packed nutritional supplements are often given to revitalize the body. If there is a psychological disorder behind the weight loss, such as anorexia or bulimia, addition counseling may also help greatly in the quest to reach a healthier weight.
A nutritionist can help you gain weight safely
Prior to your first consultation your nutritionist may ask you to compile a food diary to help them establish your eating habits. This will allow them to build a picture of what you eat, when you eat and how much you eat.
The nutritionist may also want to carry out certain tests where appropriate to rule out any underlying conditions or to find specific vitamin deficiencies.
When putting together your program the nutritionist may take into consideration some of the following:
- Physical activity
Eating more calories than you burn is essential for weight gain but ceasing physical activity is not the answer.
Remaining active is essential for the maintenance of optimal well-being and many nutrition programs will include exercise regimes or physical activity recommendations.
- Food enjoyment
The nutritionist will provide you with a program with the intention of you learning to adopt a healthier way of eating indefinitely. The initial adjustment to a different way of eating may be difficult at first but it is important that the foods included on the list are ones that you enjoy and could commit to eating regularly. If there some suggestions you really dislike then its unlikely you will stick to the plan so talk to your nutritionist and see if there are any suitable substitutes or choices.
Your final program should be achievable, realistic and may include suggested supplements, physical activity recommendations, meal plans and a list of suitable foods.
It is important to stress on the risks of being underweight as more attention is focused on being overweight. Being thin is considered being better than being overweight, but it is not true. Thinness comes with its very own set of problems and risks.