Malnutrition is the foremost health risk of an underweight person. It means that a person does not get enough calories to fuel their body, and/or they don’t take in the right amount of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients from the food they eat.
For children and teens, malnutrition may lead to developmental delays. According to UNICEF, one in three Filipino children under five years old are too short for their age and about 7 percent of them are too thin for their height.
On top of malnutrition, an underweight person may risk developing additional health problems:
Osteoporosis. A deficiency in vitamin D and calcium can lead to weak or brittle bones.
Weak immune system. This is a major cause for concern if you are sick because your body will have a hard time fighting off illnesses or infections.
Anemia. A deficiency in iron, folate, and B12 can lead to lower red blood cells. You may be anemic if you always feel dizzy, tired, suffer from headaches, and look pale.
Fertility issues. Underweight women may suffer from irregular or lack of menstrual periods, infertility, or a higher chance of pre-term labor.
Hair loss and teeth and gum problems. Issues with vitamin deficiency can lead to falling or thinning hair, or teeth and gum diseases.