We all worry on being overweight these days. The society is encouraging you to get fit, to get slim, and to get skinny. However, being underweight is considered as one of the major risk factors for early menopause development. The reason of such danger is substantial hormonal misbalance, which is commonly experienced by underweight people. The amount of the generated estrogen being reduced, triggering early menopause.
It is not easy to dissolve, but being too thin could cause indeed early menopause, and several recent studies seem to support this idea. The more fat that is present in the body, the higher the estrogen supply. When estrogen supply runs out, menopause begins. If estrogen reserves are already extra low due to an underweight Body Mass Index (under 18.5), menopause may begin sooner as a result. So, the greater the BMI is, the later the onset of menopause should be expected. For optimal health, aim to keep body weight within a normal BMI range (18.5 - 25). Keep in mind that taking care of yourself with an aggressive yoga schedule and tight diet can be healthy, but not in extreme.
While WHO considers the BMI less than 18.5 as underweight borderline, the American Dietetic Association (ADA) offers even stricter approach, defining the ideal body mass index (BMI) as between 20 and 25. Thus, based on their guidelines, anyone with BMI below 20 would be considered underweight, and those with a BMI below 18.5 - extremely underweight.
Your BMI is a measurement of your body weight based on your height and weight. Although your BMI does not actually "measure" your percentage of body fat, it is a useful tool to estimate a healthy body weight based on your height. Due to its ease of measurement and calculation, it is the most widely used diagnostic indicator to identify a person's optimal weight depending on his height. Your BMI "number" will inform you if you are underweight, of normal weight, overweight, or obese. However, due to the wide variety of body types, the distribution of muscle and bone mass, etc., it is not appropriate to use this as the only or final indication for diagnosis.
The formulas to calculate BMI based on two of the most commonly used unit systems:
BMI = weight (kg)/height2(m2) (Metric Units)
BMI = 703·weight (lb)/height2(in2) (U.S. Units)
However, there are many online calculators, which will help you to assess your BMI and determine if you are in the normal recommended range, allowing you to avoid making manual calculations.
Using the online calculator, developed by Calculator. Net, the input of the following information is required:
Other Health Risks of Being Underweight
Getting hit by premature menopause is bad enough, but underweight women are prone to additional potential health related complications. Based on the latest studies, the risks of being underweight are fairly comparable to the detrimental effects of obesity. Those who are underweight are predisposed to infection due to weak and easily compromised immune systems and tend to have low muscle mass, hair loss, and in some cases disrupted hormone regulation. Being underweight can also derail intake and absorption of vital nutrients, including amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, leading to increased risk of osteoporosis and anemia. In addition, underweight women are prone to amenorrhea and possible pregnancy complications.
Being underweight is associated with malnutrition, which is defined as failing to consume adequate amounts of one or more nutrients that your body needs. The effects of malnutrition are numerous and varied depending on the nutrients in question. For example, too little vitamin D may cause rickets, too little vitamin C may cause scurvy and too little iron may result in anemia. In addition, due to the essential roles played by many nutrients in your immune system, being underweight may lower your body's ability to resist and recover from illness, battle infections and heal wounds.
Changes in Core Body Temperature
Many people associate being cold all the time with an eating disorder, but anyone who is underweight may have trouble regulating body temperature. At a healthy weight, your body is insulated with a layer of fat that keeps you warm. Being underweight for any reason may result in feeling chilled, even if the outside air is warm. Adding a few pounds can help counteract this problem and aid in maintaining normal body temperatures.
Lack of Energy
If your body does not have enough fat and nutrient stores, you might feel weak. This lack of energy may make it difficult to get through day-to-day tasks at work, home or school. Lack of energy is likely due to a lack of iron in your blood, a nutrient that helps prevent anemia. Anemia saps your energy. Simply increasing your daily food intake can help normalize your iron levels, increasing your energy.
According to a study published in the December 2010 issue of the Baltic Journal of Health and Physical Activity, underweight people have lower bone mass densities. The study's author, Nasim Habibzadeh of the University of Guilan in Rasht, Iran, further notes that the low bone mass of underweight people may lead to osteoporosis, a condition characterized by bone loss, brittle and fragile bones, bone pain and increased risk of fractures. Although this condition is most common in post-menopausal women, Habibzadeh points out that being underweight might lead to the development of osteoporosis at a young age.
Despite the numerous risks of malnutrition and osteoporosis, no health risk is more serious than the possibility of premature death. In a study published in the November 2007 issue of The Journal of the American Medical Association, a team headed by Katherine Flegal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that being underweight can increase your risks of dying. Although people older than 70 years of age account for most of the deaths in excess of the average for people at a healthy weight, nearly one-third of these underweight people died at a younger age.
What Causes Low Body Weight?
Low body weight can stem from a variety of causes. While some underweight people are otherwise physically healthy, others suffer from underlying health concerns that should be treated. The following are some possible causes of being underweight:
* Genetics. If you have been thin since high school and being thing runs in your family, it is likely that you were born with a higher-than-usual metabolism. You also may have a naturally small appetite.
* High physical activity. If you are an athlete, you are probably aware that frequent workouts can affect your body weight. However, high physical activity can also flow from an active job or an energetic personality. If you are on your feet frequently, you may burn more calories than people who are more sedentary (inactive).
* Illness. Being sick can affect your appetite, as well as your body’s ability to use and store food. If you have recently lost a lot of weight without trying, it may be a sign of disease, such as thyroid problems, diabetes, digestive diseases or even cancer. Be sure to talk to your doctor about sudden weight loss.
* Medicines. Certain prescription medicines can cause nausea and weight loss. Some treatments, such as chemotherapy, can reduce appetite and worsen weight loss from illness.
* Psychological Issues. Our mental wellbeing affects every part of our lives. Factors like stress and depression can disrupt healthy eating habits. Severe body image fears and distortions can also lead to eating disorders. If you are suffering from damaging emotional issues, be sure to talk to your family doctor.
* Diet. Another reason for being underweight may be to do with extreme dieting and a general feeling in society that you can never really be too thin. Excessively controlling your food intake may suggest an eating disorder. If this is a possibility, seek medical advice.
Gaining Weight in Healthy Manner
A weight gain program may seem like an opportunity for indulgence. Just grab some French fries and have at it! Unfortunately, just as healthy weight loss requires a balanced approach, healthy weight gain means more than adding junk food to your daily meals.
While eating junk food may result in weight gain, it will not address the nutritional deficiencies that come with being underweight. Further, even if the fat, sugar and salt common in junk food do not show up as extra weight, they can still harm your body. To maximize healthy gains, try the following tips.
Add healthy calories. Without radically changing your diet, you can increase your calorie intake with each meal by adding nut or seed toppings, cheese and healthy side dishes. Try almonds, sunflower seeds, fruit or whole-grain wheat toast.
Go nutrient dense. Instead of eating a lot of empty calories and junk food, focus on eating foods that are rich in nutrients. Consider high-protein meats, which can help you to build muscle. Also, choose nutritious carbohydrates, such as brown rice and other whole grains. This helps ensure your body is receiving as much nourishment as possible, even if you are dealing with a reduced appetite.
Snack away. Enjoy snacks that contain plenty of protein and healthy carbohydrates. Consider options like trail mix, protein bars or drinks, and crackers with hummus or peanut butter. Also enjoy snacks that contain “good fats,” which are important for a healthy heart. Examples include nuts and avocados.
Eat mini-meals. If you are struggling with a curbed appetite due to medical or emotional issues, taking in large portions of food may not seem appealing. Consider eating smaller meals throughout the day to increase your calorie intake.
Bulk up. While too much aerobic exercise will burn calories and ultimately work against your weight goal, strength training– such as weight lifting or yoga–can help you gain weight by building muscle.
Before beginning any major weight gain program, be sure to consult your family doctor. Being underweight may indicate an underlying health issue, which will not be corrected by diet changes. Your physician also will be able to help you track your progress and make sure that healthy changes are taking place.
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