Experts Explain Why Being Underweight Might Be MORE Dangerous Than Being Obese [Study]
Image Source: Medical News Today
It’s not difficult to find information about how being overweight or obese is tied to earlier death. But a study released in March of 2014 revealed that we might be focusing on the wrong side of the equation.
Researchers pooled the results from 51 studies (a meta-analysis), each of which followed subjects for 5+ years, to identify the linkages between various BMIs and their associated risk of death. BMI or body mass index is a common measurement that creates a scale based on height-to-weight ratio; with classifications ranging from underweight, healthy weight, overweight, obese and severely obese.
While doctors typically focus on the risks associated with being above the safe range, new research suggests that they should be paying equal (if not more) attention to the dangers associated with being too thin.
They discovered that underweight people had a 1.8 greater chance of dying than normal adults — nearly double the risk. Comparatively, they found that for obese adults (BMI of 30+), the risk was 1.2 times greater than normal adults; and about 1.3 times greater for severely obese adults (BMI of 35+).
As it turns out, being underweight might actually be MORE dangerous than being obese.
While obesity is linked to a number of obvious causes, including poor diet and lack of exercise, there are a variety of dangerous conditions that can contribute to an underweight BMI:
- Cirrhotic Liver Disease
- Lung Disease
- Acute Bone and/or Muscle Injury
- Alcoholism and/orDrug Abuse
- Mental Illness and Depression
- Poor Nutrition and Undereating
- Over Exercising
The Bottom Line
We know obesity carries extreme risks, but this study shows that being underweight is just as dangerous, if not more. Take caution.
When using BMI as a classification, it’s best to be average. But don’t live and die by BMI — it’s a faulty measure that fails to account for muscle mass and body composition. However, if you find yourself falling outside of the “normal” category, on either end, it doesn’t hurt to contact a doctor to see how you can get yourself back in that 18.5-25 range.
is an AFAA-CGF, Beachbody INSANITY Coach, former chunky gal
, 110% pure fitness junkie and an SEC-lovin' sorority girl at the University of Missouri.
When she isn't spending her extra time as a campus tour guide (Go Tigers!), she's probably scrounging around the aisles of Barnes & Noble or doing some impulse online shopping.
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