There are various things that can greatly affect our health. It is believed that a person who is healthy, which means a person have the desirable body weight, lives longer and enjoys the quality of life in older age. On the other hand, a person’s health may be at risk if he or she doesn’t achieve his or her required body weight.
Underweight is a condition wherein the body weight is more than 10% below the desirable body weight. Underweight or undernutrition predisposes an individual to infectious diseases.
- Inadequate food intake
- Poor quality of food choices
- Poor absorption of food eaten
- Poor utilization of food eaten
- Irregular eating habits
- Wasting disease such as pulmonary tuberculosis
- Anorexia nervosa (See Gastritis)
- Endocrine disturbance (hyperthyroidism) See Iodine Deficiency
Desired Weight for Your Height Chart
- Weight is more than 10% below desirable body weight
- Pallor (Paleness)
- Lowered resistance to infection
Helpful Dietary Management
- Identify and treat the root cause of undereating or weight loss. This is necessary if one has to gain maximum benefits from dietary management.
- Eat an up-building diet (high in calories, moderate in fat, providing vitamins and minerals at optimum level). See High-Calorie Diet
- Give special attention to B vitamins because they increase appetite and improve digestion.
- Increase amount of food to be given gradually to avoid stomach upset and spells of discouragement.
- Start with small frequent feedings including concentrated sources of calories then gradually adjust to serving 3 regular meals per day.
Because of the increasing rate of obesity and overweight problems, weight loss has been given more importance than weight gain. Although obesity and overweight are identified as risk factor for chronic problems, underweight must also be given emphasis and must be addressed seriously as it can make a person more susceptible to infectious disease.
Reference: Healing Wonders of Diet Effective Guide to Diet Therapy p.70-71 © 2003 Philippine Publishing House ISBN 971-581-013-6