Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Risks of Being Underweight

Here is the U.S., it is really hard to be classified by the general public as too thin.  For a public figure, gaining five pounds can be disasterous in terms of negative publicity.  Occasionally concern will be expressed about someone being underweight, but not usually until they look rather skeletal, and there is a thin line between the point someone is said to look great and the point where they are declared anorexic.  Being underweight is celebrated.

This is unfortunate because there are many health risks associated with being underweight.  First, the general mortality for those who are underweight is higher than for those who are normal weight or overweight.  Those who are underweight are more likely to suffer from nutritional deficiencies such as anemia.  The underweight are also more likely to succumb to viral illnesses like colds and the flu, and when they get sick, they tend to get sicker and have illnesses that last longer than those who are heavier.

The same holds true for injuries.  Injuries are slower to heal in the underweight, and they are more likely to develop infections in wounds.  Being underweight is also a risk factor for infertility.

As one ages, being underweight seems to be an even greater disadvantage.  Those who are too thin are more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease than those in the normal/overweight range.  Osteoporosis is another condition listing being underweight as a risk factor, and if you develop cancer, heart disease, or a kidney problem, having extra body fat increases your risk of pulling through alive and healthy.

My point with this is that it is unfair of the public to criticize, ostracize, and penalize those who are overweight for their body size while actually praising those who are underweight.  We should accept all regardless of body size while encouraging healthy eating and movement for all.

5 comments:

CyberCelt said...

Being overweight keeps you warm. We can live longer than skinny people without food. Fat people support the economy! LOL

Jun Paa said...

I see nothing wrong with a few folds here and there as long as you know how to carry it

warmfuzzies said...

This was good to read. I am always obsessed with my weight. I am pregnant now and am obsessed with losing this weight after the baby is born. :) I used to be very thin and then I had 2 kids and now I ma pregannt, again. Last one this time!! :) I like your take on this. :)

tiny-wings said...

Not to mention that in exteme cases, the body will canibalize itself when not supplied with enough nutrients through food. I've lost the link but for a while I read a journal kept by a buy whose girlfriend was a recovering anorexic. she would occasionally post as well. She started eating again when her doctor made her realize that her body had scavenged parts of her brain because it could not get nutrients any other way.

Leslie said...

CyberCelt, I'd like to politely inform you that a diet pill habit can easily become far more expensive than a food one. In addition, there's the fiber supplements, expensive down jackets and blankets. Very thin people often need spendy skincare products, cosmetics, and tanning memberships to maintain a healthy glow. They also spend far more at the dentist. Trust me, I'm one of them. I agree that having more weight is healthier, but I disagree with your statement that larger people support the economy. Being skinny costs a lot. Really, it goes on forever, gym membership, having to spend $200 or more on jeans so they fit my non existent ass, baked tofu. There are also the high end hair thickening products to fake the look of health. It's spendy and torturous. A lot of uber thin girls are trapped in an image obsession and really wish they could escape. Please don't judge me, I don't judge you. I just don't want the expense I subject myself to being underestimated. A pat on the back would be great, but it's not expected. Seriously, "fat" people are probably happier. I'm really happy that all of you have found happiness that doesn't depend on size. I hope I can achieve that level of peace someday. love for all
-Lilith