What are negative effects of being underweight?
Asked by anonymous on Oct 20, 2008 in Eating Disorders


Underweight is defined as having a BMI (Body Mass Index) of 18.5 or less.  When a person is unnaturally thin from eating too little and exercising too much, negative effects occur.  Hormones regulating menstruation and fertility are disrupted, immunity is compromised and infections develop, and nutritional deficiencies may produce hair loss, anemia, and osteoporosis (bone thinning).  In addition, emotional changes are inevitable, including social withdrawal, irritability, depression, and sleep disorders.  But if an individual is genetically thin, does not smoke, has normal menstrual cycles, and is healthy, then being underweight is only a problem when energy reserves are needed in an acute illness.

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