Subscribe to our Newsletter:
Healthy Diet Plans >>  Underweight Weight Control

Weight Management: Underweight

Most often, being underweight is a sign of an accompanying disorder. This disorder must first be dealt with in order to bring your weight back to normal. In addition, to this treatment, physical activity may need to be modified and psychological counseling may be required. After the treatment of the primary disorder is successful, nutritional support may be provided along with dietary changes.

Dietary management

The objectives of dietary modification are to restore the body to its normal weight, rebuild tissue and store nutrients, and maintain the desirable body weight.


A nutritious high energy diet providing calories over and above the body's requirement will result in weight gain. An increase of about 500 -1000 Cal per day can result in a weight gain of approximately one kilogram per week.


A liberal intake of high quality protein will help in building up of muscle tissue. A daily protein intake of two grams per kilogram of body weight will be required. For example, if your body weight is 60 kg, you require 75-120 g protein.


A high carbohydrate intake is also necessary to meet the energy requirements of a malnourished body. The bulk of the diet, however, should not be increased as it cuts down food intake. Avoid taking more fiber than is necessary for regular bowel movement.


Fats aid in the weight gain process, but they should only be used in amounts that can be tolerated. Emulsified fats like butter, cream etc. are better tolerated by the body.

Minerals and vitamins:

These must be provided in sufficient amounts in order to counter for nutritional deficiencies.

Diet and feeding pattern:

The amount of food intake cannot be substantially increased all of a sudden. The amount of food at each meal and the frequency of meals should be increased gradually. The calorie density of the foods can be increased, without increasing bulk, by using more sugar, jam, butter, cream, oil, and nuts. To increase the protein content of the diet, milk powder, cheese, cottage cheese, and protein concentrates can be added to liquid milk, and other beverages and soups.

Weight Gain Diet

The weight of the human body is determined by many different factors. There are two factors that can be controlled effectively by human beings. These factors are the diet and the amount of exercise performed by an individual.

The diet is an essential part of determining an individual’s weight because this is the source of all nutrition received by the body. The human body is extremely complicated and needs several different types of nutrition to keep it going. These nutrients need to be present in the food that is being consumed by an individual. Most people consume diets that have some failing in them. Diets may be excessively loaded with one food group while ignoring the body’s requirement for other types of nutrition. Imbalanced diets are responsible for a range of different health conditions that affect people all over the world.

The body mass index is a calculation used to determine whether an individual is underweight, normal, overweight or obese. These four categories are used to identify individuals following which remedial action, if necessary, can be taken. The body mass index calculation uses the person’s weight and height as its parameters for calculation. Once these parameters are calculated, the score is reported. Any score below 18.5 is listed as underweight. Scores above 25 but below 30 are listed as overweight. Obese individuals score above 30 in the body mass index calculation. Few people realize that being underweight is more dangerous than being overweight, which is between 25 and 30 on the scale. Individuals who are underweight are starving their bodies of nutrients which can cause serious problems throughout the life of the individual. A good weight gain diet is needed for an individual who has to put on weight.

It should be noted that some individuals have a rapid metabolism rate. Such people will put on weight less quickly than individuals with a normal or slow rate of metabolism. If the diet is correct, then such people should be at the borderline between underweight and normal weight levels on the body mass index scale.
A weight gain diet is one that provides the body with more fuel for cell and tissue development. It is dangerous to simply increase the fat content of the diet in the name of weight gain. The weight gained by an individual should be gained in as healthy a way as possible. The first thing to do when dealing with an underweight diet is to examine the diet for its nutritional value.

The diet may be examined by a doctor or a nutritionist if the individual finds it difficult to understand the weight gain process. The underweight diet will be checked for the type of foods that are being avoided. It should be noted at this stage that the diet in an underweight individual may be normal but the individual may be suffering from some sort of digestive disorder. This is why a doctor should be brought into the picture to analyze the diet.

The use of a doctor for the analysis of an underweight diet will help to identify the areas where the diet is insufficient. The individual can then be put on a weight gain diet. A weight gain diet will usually involve an increase in protein. Carbohydrate levels may also be increased until they match the recommended daily requirement of an individual of the height and gender similar to the patient. The weight gain diet is usually not prescribed in isolation. Patients who are underweight need to also exercise so that they put on some amount of muscle mass. Weight gained in the form of fat is generally unhealthy even though some amount of fat is required by the body.

A healthy weight gain diet is essentially a nicely varied diet that contains plenty of different foods from different food groups. Fruits and vegetables are great for people who wish to embark on a weight gain diet. These foods provide the body with plenty of variety in terms of their nutritional value. This variety is essential for the palate of the individual. Any diet that is tasty is more likely to be followed by an individual.

It is important to stress the seriousness of being chronically underweight. There are many psychological and social conditions that cause people to be underweight. There are many cases where it has become fashionable to be excessively thin. Anorexia is a condition where patients choose to avoid eating because they feel that they have a problem with their body weight even though they may already be underweight. Deficient eating, particularly at a time when the body is developing, can cause lifelong problems for the individual. People with eating disorders have been known to suffer from immune related problems and with problems associated with the functioning of various organ systems in their bodies. In recent times, the problems of being underweight have been highlighted in the media and in social groups which has helped people get over this problem to a great extent. Ideally, the healthiest place to be on the body mass index is towards the top end of the normal scale.

The best sort of underweight diet plan is one that is suited to slow and steady weight gain. This will create a situation where the individual’s body gradually builds itself up. Rapid weight gain or weight loss is harmful to the body and any underweight diet that is rapid is avoidable. Gradual weight gain diets also allow for much more control on the part of the individual. These diets can be modified easily once the individual has achieved the weight that is desired. A dietician is the best person to determine the nutritional requirements of an individual based on factors such as activity levels and height. As an underweight individual gains weight, he or she will realize the benefits of an improved body mass index. People in the normal category of the body mass index calculation tend to be less prone to diseases as well as to mild medical conditions that may occur from time to time.


In today’s world, most people are aware of the risk of being obese, which is why they are getting more conscious about their weight. Some people follow such strict measures to get into shape that they actually end up losing more weight than they ideally should. There are others who are naturally thin and remain that way, in spite of eating all that they possibly can. However, not a lot of people are aware of the fact that being underweight can be as harmful, as being overweight is. This can be seen right from the time a person is born; medical experts spend more time and resources in taking extra care of an underweight baby, who is more susceptible to various health problems, as compared to a baby who is within the normal weight range, or even on the heavier side. Hence, the risks of being underweight cannot be ignored, even as people grow older.

There are several people, who may wonder “am I underweight for my height”. However, there are many factors that need to be kept in mind, when calculating a person’s ideal weight. For example, two people, of the same age may have different “ideal weight” ranges, maybe because of height differences, or perhaps even due to the fact that they are of different genders. Therefore, people should calculate the Body Mass Index (BMI), to known what the fat content in their body is. On average, a person’s BMI should fall between 20 and 25, which indicates a normal fat content in the body. If the reading is below 20, it means that the person’s BMI is underweight, which could be a problem. Hence, all people should refer to a BMI calculator, as well as a normal weight and underweight chart, to know if they need to gain weight immediately, or if they are normal.

Underweight health risks

Contrary to what many people believe, being underweight is not healthy. Just like obese people, those who are underweight are also prone to several health problems, due to the fact that they are not within the normal weight range. Given below are some of the most common underweight problems, faced by people:

Fragile Bones

A bone condition known as osteoporosis is usually seen in those who suffer from a lack of certain nutrients, mainly calcium. Studies indicate that people who have had eating disorders or are underweight are more prone to this condition.

Weakened Immune System

In most instances, when people are underweight, it is due to a poor diet. Lack of adequate nutrition as well as the reduced intake of food is one of the most common causes of immune system impairments. When the body does not receive its required supply of antioxidants and other healthy nutrients, the chances of getting affected by infections and diseases increase. Many underweight people also feel weaker, as compared to the others.

Infertility (In women)

A woman who is underweight may find it much harder to conceive, as compared to someone who is within the normal weight. Hence, if an underweight woman wishes to get pregnant, it is best for her to increase her weight a bit, to improve her chances of conceiving.


Submitted on January 16, 2014