Underweight, the Less Discussed Type of Unhealthy Weight and Its Implications: A Review
Underweight is body weight that is too low for a normal healthy adult or child. It is also known by various other names such as wasting, emaciation, thinness, stunting, etc., and is caused by multiple factors especially lack of adequate nutrients in the body. This type of unhealthy weight is not much publicized in developed wealthy countries because it is not very common except under extreme circumstances like some sick geriatric populations, disabled people, chronic diseases sufferers, the homeless people, refugees, and people afflicted by wars and natural disasters. The discussion about underweight in developed countries seems to be drowned by the chorus on concerns for the obesity epidemic and its consequences as well as the risks of excessive consumption of calories. However underweight is a front burner issue in some developing poor countries where it is a recognized perennial problem that has led to negative health consequences and sometimes death of preschool children, pregnant and lactating mothers as well as very sick, disabled or aged people. Public health professionals as well as nutritionists, social workers, clinicians and educators need to be skilled in recognizing underweight and its implications on health and wellness. Such skills are necessary in order to effectively counsel consumers & patients on food choices and weight management or to give appropriate referrals to affected individuals to enable them get expert help on maintaining healthy weight. This paper will define what is meant by underweight, with real life examples. Using data from published studies, the paper will discuss consequences and causes of underweight and how caloric intake impacts body weight. It will also highlight and re-emphasize the benefits of adequate caloric intake and healthy weight. Strategies for improving underweight and maintaining adequate body weight for good health and wellness are suggested.
Underweight, Emaciation, Stunting, Causes, Consequences, Weight Restoration, Caloric Intake, Health & Wellness
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