Nowadays weight is a worldwide major issue in the health and wellness sector, including everything from fad diets to fitness routines.
Many people are in problems with their body weight and struggle to reduce their weight to get slim. To achieve the goal, they do physical exercise, control diets, take supplements and change their lifestyles.
On the other hand some people struggle to gain healthy weight, but do not achieve it for various reasons.
To understand underweight ,overweight and obesity, we must have an idea about BMI. The BMI score determines whether a person is underweight , overweight or obese.
However, in this article, we highlight the causes, risks and possible solutions of being underweight, overweight and obese.
The word underweight is particularly mean for a person who is under the usual weight which is suggested by the medical science.
Underweight is a physical condition in which a person can’t lead a normal life and the body cannot function accurately which causes other serious health issues.
People are always seriously concerned about being overweight and obesity.
But it is never thought that being underweight is also a major health problem which leads to serious health consequences.
What does underweight mean in health?
Underweight is such a health condition in which you are under the suggested weight range for your body to function accurately as determined by medical science.
Underweight, overweight and obese are calculated on the basis of Body Mass Index (BMI) chart. To calculate your weight BMI chart is given below:
BMI weight ranges
- Less than BMI Range 18.5 = Underweight
- Between BMI Range 18.5 – 24.9 = Healthy Weight
- Between BMI Range 25 – 29.9 = Overweight
- Over BMI Range 30 = Obese
Who is underweight and why?
According to Body Mass Index (BMI) when a person is below the standard healthy weight range of BMI 18.5, is considered to be an underweight person.
Women who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18.5 are also considered to be underweight as the average height of women is 5 feet 4 inches. For the women, a healthy weight range would be 108 to 145 pounds according to BMI.
Because it compares body weight and height of a person, the BMI calculation is considered to be a good estimate of their weight.
A 170-pounds person, for example, may not be overweight if he is tall, but he may be overweight if he is short.
Cause of Underweight
There are many cause of being underweight such as:
- Fast Metabolism and Physical Activity
- Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Genetic Problem
- Life style
1. Fast Metabolism and Physical Activity
Metabolism has a vital role in maintaining your body weight.
If your metabolism is fast or high, and you eat high energy and protein-containing foods, you do not gain much weight.
Because of fast metabolism you burn more calories and fats than you eat everyday. Thus a calories deficiency is created in your body and you can not gain weight, this is why you are underweight.
Similarly when you burn calories through physical activity, a calorie deficiency is created while also reducing the quantity of calories you eat. As a result you lose weight and stay underweight.
Athletes and those who engage in high-intensity physical activity, such as runners, can burn a lot of calories and shed pounds. As a result, he is unable to put on weight.
2. Hyperthyroidism or overactive thyroid: Another reason is Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid which is responsible for an excess of thyroid hormone in the body.
Thyroid hormone is in charge of several aspects of human metabolism, including metabolic rate regulation.
Hyperthyroidism causes a hyperactive metabolism, which causes them to burn extra calories throughout the day.
Hyperthyroidism can make it difficult to gain weight, even when food consumption is increased, if the right medication is not taken.
3. Type 1 Diabetes: Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body kills the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin.
Insulin is the hormone that regulates glucose metabolism. When anybody with type 1 diabetes is left untreated, it leads to high blood glucose levels, which are subsequently discharged in the urine. Excess glucose excretion can result in weight loss that is unintended.
4. Genetic Problem: Some people with inherited genetic problems do not gain weight. Gens, nutrition and behavioral factors influenced slim people to maintain their body weight.
5. Life style: Our body is running with a system and it needs a required amount of healthy food and nutrition to maintain healthy weight. When you eat less than the requirement you lose weight and when you eat more than the requirement you gain weight.
Drinking water before a meal: Drinking water before a meal makes you feel full and prevents you from eating enough food you need for your body to have a balanced weight.
If you keep continuing this practice every time, you are lacking enough calories to build fat and muscles you need to grow some weight.
If you drink water before any meal, you lose food cravings and satisfaction which restrict you from enough eating. If you don’t eat with full satisfaction, as a result you do not gain weight.
Skipping a meal: Sometimes we remain so busy in our daily life and we forget our meals or we hardly have time to eat our meals.
We keep continuing in this manner for a long time and our body adopts this lifestyle without any worst side effects. But the only side effect is it prevents you from gaining the required weight and muscle you need according to your age and height.
Eating processed and junk food: Because of our busy lifestyle we do not have time to cook at home and sometimes we eat junk food outside of home. We know that junk foods are very low in nutritional values.
Same thing goes for processed food. Even some processed foods are not junk food at all but still the food is processed which you find in super shops. Process foods are also very low in nutritional values.
Consequences of underweight
In medical science there is lots of focus on overweight, but what happens of being underweight is not focused at all.
There are so many health risks of being underweight such as :
- Anemia, malnutrition, or vitamin deficiencies may be caused.
- May reduce immune function.
- A higher chance of surgery-related complications.
- Lack of calcium and vitamin D can lead to osteoporosis.
- Nutrient deficiency may cause hair loss, dry skin, and dental problems.
- Getting frequently sick due to shortage of energy.
- Underweight women may have irregular periods.
- Underweight pregnant women can give birth to a premature baby before 37 weeks.
- Difficulties with growth and development, particularly in children and teenagers.
- Feeling weak all the time.
You may achieve a healthy weight and avoid the unhealthy impacts of being underweight by making a few changes to your diet and lifestyle such as :
- Eat smaller but more frequently and include more snacks in your diet.
- Consume nutrient-rich foods and calories such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds, and lean proteins.
- Eat more protein rich food and do some exercise everyday which can help you to build some muscles. In that way you can raise your weight by building muscle which is necessary for your body.
- Eat more fatty food(not junk or highly processed) like lean meat and fatty meat are a source of healthy fat and protein.
- Emphasize when and what you are drinking. You can choose smoothies that are a healthier alternative to diet soda, coffee, and other caffeinated beverages.
Fruits, vegetables, and dairy products can be used to fill them.
Overweight and obesity have become a most serious problem of people around the world.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO) overweight and obesity are associated with more deaths than underweight worldwide.
Being overweight has a harmful effect on the body and causes many physical problems. It’s a medical condition that increases your risk of getting other illnesses, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, several types of cancer, and heart disease.
Who are overweight people?
According to the U.S National Institute of Health, the people with BMI range between 25.0 to 29.9 are considered to be overweight.
Calculate your BMI click here
Causes of Overweight
Overweight is commonly induced by over eating and insufficient physical activity. When you consume a lot of calories, especially those from fat and sugar, without burning them off through exercise and other physical activity, your body will store a lot of those calories as fat. This fat makes you overweight.
Apart from this, there are some leading causes of being overweight such as:
- Eating junk foods
- Genetics problem
- Eating high fat foods
- Sleep deprivation
- An undiagnosed medical condition
- Slow metabolism
1. Eating Junk Foods
How the junk food will influence your body weight is completely dependent on the metabolism of your body.
If you have a slow metabolism and you are very sensitive to gaining weight, eating junk food can increase your body fat overnight. Your body can not process this high fat junk food properly because of slow metabolism and you gain unusual weight.
Following junk food can harm your body and lead you to gain weight :
- Cakes and cookies.
- Various fast foods like Hotdog, hot chips, Cheese burgers and pizzas.
- Sweets and milk chocolate.
- Meat that has been processed like bacon.
- Sugar rich beverages like energy drinks and soft drinks like coca cola.
- Alcoholic beverages like beer.
Genetics play a vital role to people being overweight and underweight.
If one or both parents are overweight, a child is more likely to be genetically inherited and develop overweight.
Hormones involved in controlling fat are also influenced by genetics.
The pancreas, the digestive tract, and fat (adipose) tissue all send signals to the brain when you are hungry.
The brain communicates with these signals by responding with the instruction to the body either to eat more and reduce energy usage or to eat less and increase energy usage.
Hormones like leptin, insulin, and ghrelin produce these signals.
The hormones, signals and responses that regulate food intake are all dependent on genes.
Leptin deficiency is a hereditary cause of being overweight. Both the placenta and fat cells produce the hormone leptin.
When body fat storage is too high, leptin sends a signal to the brain telling it to eat less.
If the body can not produce sufficient leptin, or leptin fails to ask the brain to eat less, resulting in loss of this control and people gain weight.
3. Consuming too much high fat foods
Highly processed meals, such as sugar contain cereals, fast food, and microwave meals containing a variety of potentially dangerous substances, including artificial sweeteners, preservatives, and harmful fats.
If you eat a lot of energy, especially fat and sugar, but don’t burn it off through exercise and physical activity, your body will store a lot of it as fat resulting in weight gain.
Furthermore, multiple studies have linked highly processed foods to weight gain, as well as rising obesity rates in the US and all over the world.
Highly processed foods are often high in calories but low in vital elements that keep you satisfied, such as protein and fiber.
4. Sleep deprivation
When you consider all of the factors that can influence weight gain, you might not think of sleep as one of them.
According to studies, those who sleep for a short period of time gain much more weight than those who sleep for a long period of time.
In another study indicate that, children and adults who slept for less than eight hours were shown to be 89 percent and 55 percent more likely to become obese, respectively.
After all, there is a definitive connection between getting enough sleep and shedding pounds.
Sleep deprivation, in particular, can have a substantial impact on your gaining weight and metabolism.
5. An undiagnosed medical condition
Although various lifestyle factors influenced unwanted weight gain, medical issues also play a role.
Some of them are:
Depression: Increased hunger tendency and low physical activities are normal symptoms of depression which cause gain weight.
Obesity and weight increase are linked to this widespread mental illness.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a type of polycystic ovary (PCOS).
Hormonal abnormalities characterize PCOS, which affects women of reproductive age.
It has the potentiality to increase weight gain.
Anorexia nervosa is a type of binge eating disorder (BED): BED is defined by recurrent periods of excessive overeating, which can result in a variety of health issues, including weight gain.
Furthermore, several medications, such as antidepressants and antipsychotics, can cause weight gain.
6. Slow Metabolism
Metabolism is your body’s internal mechanism by which your body spends energy and burns calories.
Metabolism has a vital influence to maintain your body weight.
There are many misconceptions about how metabolism affects your health, particularly in terms of weight gain or loss.
By converting food and adequate nutrients you consume into energy, metabolism keeps your body active around the clock.
Your body requires this energy to breathe, circulate blood, develop and repair cells, and do everything else.
Because of a slow metabolism, during this process your body can’t burn calories, resulting in a lot of fats stored in your body which makes you overweight.
7. Inactive Lifestyle
An inactive lifestyle is a condition in which a person does not do any physical work such as sitting on a sofa and watching TV, sitting on a computer table, or working in an office.
According to an examination report from national health surveys, the rise in weight may be caused more by inactivity than by consuming more calories.
In this situation, no calories or fat is burnt which results in being overweight.
8. Social and Environmental factors
There are so many evidence-based social and environmental factors of people being overweight, which rarely take into consideration.
Despite the fact that many medical professionals still attribute obesity to factors beyond a person’s control, such as dietary choices, exercise levels, or willpower.
Overweight is connected with sex, racial ethnic identification, and socioeconomic level, resulting in complex interactions between these factors.
These factors are as following:
Socio-economic: People who live in high-society locations are more financially secure than those who live in low-society ones. They frequently consume rich foods and are habituated to consuming calorie-rich fast foods outside of the home.
They sometimes don’t cook at home because they don’t want to deal with the effort of cooking and instead eat fast food outside of the house.
The people who are financially weak in the society, they don’t want to spend extra penny by buying food from outside.They like to cook at home by all means.
These factors influence the gaining weight of the people who are financially sound and living in high society areas than the people with poor socio-economic level.
Transportation: Transportation is a factor that the people who have their own cars do not walk and often go to their office and workplace by their own transport. Not doing physical activity they don’t burn calories as a result gain weight.
Connectivity can influence modes of mobility and neighborhood walkability, both of which are linked to weight gain.
Work Environment: Some people who work in industrial areas can`t take their tiffin from home. Most of the workers eat a variety of fast foods like hotdog, cheese burgers, pizzas and sugar-containing beverages from the canteen located inside the industries.
This tendency would be a greater impairment to their being overweight.
Consequences of overweight
According to the current World Health Organization (WHO) forecasts, at least one-third of the world’s adult population is overweight, and about one-tenth is obese. In addition, nearly 40 million children under the age of five are overweight.
Obesity or being overweight can have a negative impact on our health. Excess weight causes major health problems, including:
- Cardiovascular disease (primarily heart disease and stroke).
- Type 2 diabetes.
- Musculoskeletal illnesses such as osteoarthritis.
- Several malignancies (endometrial, breast and colon).
- Early mortality and significant disability.
- High blood pressure.
- High triglyceride levels, low HDL cholesterol, or high LDL cholesterol (dyslipidemia).
- Gallbladder illness.
- Depression, anxiety, and other mental diseases.
- Difficulties with physical function and body pain.
- Breathing troubles and sleep disorders.
- Metabolic syndrome.
- Fatty liver illness.
- Problems during pregnancy.
- Kidney damage.
The danger of health problems begins when a person is slightly overweight, and that the likelihood of problems grows as weight increases. Individuals and families suffer for a long time as a result of many of these diseases.
According to WHO, the good news is that becoming overweight or obese is largely preventable. The key to success is to strike a balance between calories consumed and calories expended.
Overweight is commonly treated with a combination of healthier diet, increased physical activity, and other behavioral modifications.
Some people may benefit from weight management programs in order to lose weight or avoid regaining it.
To achieve this aim following measures may be adopted:
- Limit total fat intake and shifting fat consumption from saturated to unsaturated fats.
- Increase fruit and vegetable consumption, as well as legumes, whole grains, and nuts.
- Limit your sugar intake.
- Consume a low calorie diet.
- Intermittent fasting to reduce your food intake.
- Change your lifestyle and food habits.
- Raise your levels of physical exercise to at least 30 minutes of regular, moderate-intensity activity on most days to burn more calories.
Obese or Obesity is a well-known worldwide problem and has become a major concern both men and women affecting people of all racial, society and cultural backgrounds.
Obese is such a condition in which your body fat has accumulated to a level where it may be harmful to your health.
Obese or obesity and overweight are often considered to be the same in symptoms, causes and other related aspects which have been explained above in this article in the Overweight section.
Who is an obese person?
The Body Mass Index (BMI) is an easy calculation based on a person’s height and weight. Therefore BMI = kg/m2, where kg is the weight of a person in kilograms and m2 is a person’s height in meters squared.
When a person is within Body Mass Index (BMI) range 30 to 39.9 he is considered to be obese.
Cause of Obesity
In terms of being overweight, people still lose some weight in everyday life and some extra calories are deposited as fat because of lacking physical activities or any other obvious reason.
But for obese people it seems they are gaining weight for every piece calorie count rather than they lose a single calorie. Even though they do some physical exercise they hardly can lose weight. Whatever food they eat is converted to fat.
Most of the time obesity is caused by genetic, very weak metabolism, hormonal imbalance.
There are a variety of reasons why some people develop obesity and can`t lose weight.
Although the causes of obesity, obese and being overweight are almost the same, which have already been described in this article as causes of overweight.
In addition, some basic,regional and technological causes of obesity are cited below:
- Obesity develops when you consume more calories than you expend via regular daily activities and exercise, despite the fact that genetic, behavioral, metabolic, and hormonal factors all play a role in body weight. Your body turns these extra calories into fat.
- The majority of people in America consume too many calories daily, mostly from fast food and calorie-rich beverages.
- Obese individuals may consume more calories before feeling satisfied, experience hunger sooner, or consume more food in response to stress or anxiety.
- In western countries many people have such jobs wherein there is no scope to do any physical activity. So they can’t burn more calories through their jobs. Believe it or not, they can’t burn a minimum of calories by the grace of modern technology such as remote controls, elevators, online shopping and including food purchase, online banking, social media marketing and more.
Consequences of Obesity
Obesity and overweight together are the second-leading cause of premature death in the United States, according to the National Institutes of Health.
The obesity epidemic is thought to be responsible for 300,000 annual deaths.
Individuals with obesity are more likely to seriously risk a number of potentially harmful health problems as described above – consequences of being overweight. However the vital risks of being obese are described below here:
- Cardiological disease and strokes.
- Higher possibility of Type 2 diabetes.
- Specific cancers.
- Problems of digestion.
- Osteoarthritis disease.
In order to maintain good health, obesity prevention is most important.
Following foods habit and lifestyle changes can help to achieve your aim:
- Ensure to consume meals with a low glycemic index.
- Reduce your intake of processed and sugary food.
- Consume more good fat and less harmful fat.
- Increase your intake of fruits and vegetables.
- Consume a lot of dietary fiber.
- Incorporate regular aerobic activities.
- Try to avoid stress in your daily life.
In the modern world, underweight, overweight and obesity is one of the most prevalent health issues.
Therefore, it’s crucial to identify the elements that both raise and lower the chance of being overweight or obese.
Most of the overweight and obese people struggle to reduce their weight applying varieties of methods and their utmost efforts. But actually it is not easy to manage weight.
On the other hand some people try their heart and soul to gain weight but not being able to achieve the aim.
Only eating a healthy diet, supplement and medications are not enough to control weight. You must do regular physical exercise, lifestyle and food habit changes along with diet control, medications and other rules are strictly followed until you achieve your target.
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