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What is the Weight of an Underweight Person?
With all the attention our society pays to the idea of losing weight, it’s easy to forget that there are people who need to add some pounds to their frame as well. There are many reasons for this, including to reach a healthy weight or improve nutrition for cancer patients, but whatever the aim, gaining weight as an underweight person is often a critical health goal that can be every bit as important as an overweight person’s attempt to shed pounds. Of course, before you know whether you need to gain weight to improve your health, you have to first determine whether you qualify as underweight. So, what exactly is the weight of an underweight person? To find out, keep reading as the people at ENU explain.
How to Tell If You Are an Underweight Person
While it’s natural to ask at what weight a person might be considered underweight, determining whether you fit into that classification isn’t quite that simple. Because every person’s body is unique, there really isn’t one set weight that is too low for everyone; instead, most doctors, dieticians, and nutritionists will consider a person’s weight compared to their height to establish a baseline idea of how much they should weigh. This concept is known as the body mass index, more commonly called BMI.
To find out your BMI, you can use an online calculator or plug your information into the following formula: Take your weight in pounds, then divide it by your height in inches, squared. After that, just multiply the result by 703, round to a single decimal place, and you’ll have your BMI. For example, if you are 5 feet and 10 inches tall and weight 120 pounds, your formula would look like this:
120 pounds / (70 inches)2 x 703 = A BMI of 17.2
To put this result into context, the BMI system is divided into four categories:
- Underweight – a BMI of less than 18.5
- Normal – a BMI of between 18.5 and 24.9
- Overweight – a BMI of between 25 and 29.9
- Very overweight or obese – a BMI of 30 and higher
In the example above, the person in question would be considered underweight because their BMI is below the 18.5 threshold. While it may not sound severe, being underweight is associated with a host of health problems, including a weakened immune system, fertility issues, muscle wasting, and weakened bones. However, it should be noted that a low BMI doesn’t necessarily mean you will face these risks, as the BMI system comes with an important drawback: it fails to consider the variables inherent in each person’s physiology.
In many ways, factors such as body composition, fitness level, genes, and diet are just as important as weight or BMI when determining whether someone is unhealthy. A person on the short side who works out frequently and has significant muscle mass could have a high BMI but be quite healthy, just as a person who is naturally tall and thin but who eats regular, balanced meals could be considered underweight on the BMI scale yet otherwise be in good shape. Because the BMI system only accounts for height and weight, it can sometimes inaccurately indicate a health issue, so it’s important to talk with your doctor if you think you might be underweight, instead of accepting your BMI as gospel.
How to Gain Weight If You Are Underweight
If you are underweight and need to put on a few pounds, there are many ways to do so, but keep in mind that gaining too much weight too quickly can be bad for you, especially if that weight is all in the form of visceral fat. For this reason, it’s important to balance any increase in body fat with an increase in muscle mass by incorporating plenty of protein into your diet and exercising regularly, even if it’s only a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood every day or two.
If you are underweight because of a loss of appetite due to cancer, anorexia, or a stroke, try to adjust your eating habits to fit this new reality. If you are only hungry in the morning, for example, eat an especially hearty breakfast; if you are only a little hungry throughout the day, try eating small, frequent meals rather than a few big ones. Adding spices and condiments to your food can improve its flavor and boost its calorie count – an important consideration when trying to gain weight. To gain weight at a steady, healthy pace, aim for a daily surplus of about 500 calories, but make sure a good portion of those calories (at least 20%) come from protein.
Another tip many underweight people find helpful is to try drinking your calories. ENU meal replacement shakes are carefully formulated to provide a balanced nutritional profile in one tasty, convenient package. Enjoying one of these drinks each day will add 400 calories to your diet, plus 20 grams of protein, heart-healthy fats, complex carbs, and a blend of 24 key vitamins and minerals to keep you nourished and energized without the effort of meal prep or planning.
Healthy Weight Gain Shakes Available for Underweight People
Whether you need a nutritional shake for cystic fibrosis, protein shake for healthy weight gain, or any other wholesome supplement designed to offer a well-rounded mix of calories and nutrients, ENU meal replacement shakes can help. To learn more about how ENU shakes can help you reach your health and fitness goals, visit us online or call us today at (855) 266-6733.