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10 Facts on Being Underweight

The condition of being overweight is defined as an insufficiency of weight or weighing less than standard. Medically, being underweight is defined as having a BMI of less than 18.5 or having a BMI below the 5th percentile, which is based on the gender, age, and height of the person. Although the condition of being underweight is less reported than it’s more popular cousin, overweightness, it is still an issue for many people. Some facts/data about this condition include:

  • 1.7% of U.S. adults aged 20 or over are underweight

  • 8.8% of men and 9.7% women in the world are underweight

  • A quarter of women in India and Bangladesh are underweight, as are a fifth of men in India, Bangladesh, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia combined.

  • A main cause of being underweight is malnutrition

  • Being underweight may be a symptom of other conditions like cancer, tuberculosis, and hyperthyroidism

  • Can be influenced by stress, anxiety, depression, and/or eating disorders

  • Being underweight can be influenced by genetic factors

  • Being underweight weakens the immune system, and for females, it causes issues with their menstruation and pregnancies, as well as increases risk of infertility

  • Being underweight for long periods of time also causes growth/developmental issues in children/teenagers

  • Underweight people can also suffer from increased risk of surgical complications

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