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 on the next page.