While many of us worry about having too much body fat, we all have to have a little bit in order to keep our bodies healthy. One task that fat performs is producing estrogen. We associate estrogen with women, but both men and women need it for healthy bones. Without enough estrogen, bones become brittle and prone to breakage. That leaves both sexes at risk for osteoporosis, no matter their age. As a result, a simple fall or accident is more likely to cause serious injury or even death in an underweight person.
To avoid osteoporosis and the other conditions we've discussed in this article, people who fall below the body mass index of normal weight (18.5) should speak to a medical professional about gaining weight safely. For more on diet, exercise and other health matters, see the links below.
- American Heart Association. "Common Misperceptions about Cholesterol." June 14, 2011. (July 11, 2011). http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/Cholesterol/PreventionTreatmentofHighCholesterol/Common-Misconceptions-about-Cholesterol_UCM_305638_Article.jsp
- Aschwanden, Christie. "Fertility 101." Marie Claire via WebMD. Jan. 31, 2009. (July 11, 2011). http://www.webmd.com/baby/features/fertility-101
- Bouchez, Colette. "Using Your Immune System to Stay Well." WebMD. Dec. 19, 2005. (July 11, 2011). http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/using-your-immune-system-to-stay-well
- Cleveland Clinic. "Amenorrhea." (July 11, 2011). http://my.clevelandclinic.org/disorders/amenorrhea/hic_amenorrhea.aspx
- Goodman, Brenda. "Size Counts When It Comes to Sex." WebMD. July 7, 2011. (July 11, 2011). http://www.webmd.com/sex-relationships/news/20110707/size-counts-when-it-comes-sex
- Kresser, Chris. "Think skinny people don't get type 2 diabetes? Think again." The Healthy Skeptic. Sept. 19, 2010. (July 11, 2011). http://thehealthyskeptic.org/think-skinny-people-dont-get-type-2-diabetes-think-again
- Mayo Clinic. "Anemia." Feb. 19, 2011. (July 11, 2011). http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/anemia/DS00321
- Naish, John. "Broken bones, depression and lung disease: Why being skinny is bad for you." The Daily Mail. July 5, 2011. (July 11, 2011). http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2011309/Broken-bones-depression-lung-disease-Why-skinny-bad-you.html
- National Health Service. "Underweight adults." Sept. 28, 2010. (July 11, 2011). http://www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodfood/Pages/Underweightadults.aspx
- National Osteoporosis Foundation Web site. (July 11, 2011). http://www.nof.org/
- Park, Alice. "Why Being Thin Doesn't Always Mean Being Healthy." Time. June 27, 2011. (July 11, 2011). http://healthland.time.com/2011/06/27/why-being-thin-doesnt-always-mean-being-healthy/
- Seeman, Bruce Taylor. "Skinny Isn't Always Healthier." Seattle Times. March 20, 2005. (July 11, 2011). http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2002212024_healthskinny20.html
- WebMD. "Understanding Anemia -- the Basics." (July 11, 2011). http://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/understanding-anemia-basics
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