Why Is Underweight A Health Problem ?

Underweight: (10 per cent below recommended weight for height or a BMI of less them 19) associated with undernutrition can be health problem because of lowered resistance to disease accompanied by fatigue and impaired body efficiency. This condition may be a symptom of or a predisposing factor in disease. Being underweight is especially serious in younger individuals, as underweight persons are more subject to tuberculosis and other opportunistic. In children, it may result in retarded growth.


There are many reasons that an individual may weigh less than is desirable. For example, food intake that is insufficient for need is quality and quantity (because of inadequate intake or poor absorption and utilization of food) wasting disease e.g. cancer increased metabolic rate (e.g. fever infection hyperthyroidism of burns) mental strain and worry and excessive activity calls all contribute to underweight

An increase of 500 kilocalories a day in excess of need should result in a weight gain of 1pound per week. An additional intake of two slices bread glasses of skim milk provides 500 kilocalories. If there is an adequate nutritional intake (at least the minimum number of recommended serving according to the food guide pyramid) the additional kilocalories can appropriately come from added fats and sugars. Adding gravy butter mayonnaise or heavy cream to food can increase kilocalories density of foods. Between meals snacks such as milkshakes, pudding and ice cream can also help promote weight gain. Treatment is aimed at developing appropriate food habits so that good nutritional status and weight gain can be maintained

What is the role of the nurse of other health care professional in promoting healthy weight and physical activity?

Everyone from the athlete to the older adult needs access to reliable nutritional information. The dietary guidelines for Americans and the guide pyramid are excellent tools that the health professional can use fictively in teaching individuals to make good food choice for maintaining physical fitness. The registered dietitian is the health professional to consult for reliable nutritional information

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Fight Obesity Editorial

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