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Underweight: Treatment, Procedure, Cost and Side Effects

Last Updated: Dec 05, 2023

What is the treatment?

Underweight is a condition when a person’s body weight is lower than the standard weight according to his age and height. The Body Mass Index (BMI) of an underweight person is below 18.5. Such a person is not considered to be healthy. A person may be underweight due to genetics, metabolism, drug overuse, eating disorder, a chronic ailment or lack of food (due to poverty). Being underweight can cause many problems in daily life routine like lack of physical stamina. It reduces your immunity and thus makes you prone to catching more infections. Underweight condition in women may lead to amenorrhea (absence of menstruation) or infertility. The treatment for underweight condition is quite uncomplicated. It starts with eating healthy food and exercising regularly.

How is the treatment done?

If you are underweight, you are advised to eat small nutritious meals at least six times a day. Your diet should include whole grain bread, cereal, fruits and vegetables, dairy products, nuts and seeds, cheese, scrambled eggs, fish and chicken. Avoid eating junk. Junk food is not just responsible for making people fat. It could also be responsible for not letting your weight to increase. If you feel hungry in between meals, try to have yogurt, granola bars, dry fruits, peanut butter etc. have at least 6-8 glasses of water every day. It hydrates your skin and helps your body to flush out the junk. Only eating healthy may not help if you are not indulging in physical activities. Exercise will increase your appetite. Strength training will help you gain muscle weight. You should quit smoking as well as consumption of alcohol and drugs.

Who is eligible for the treatment? (When is the treatment done?)

If your Body Mass Index is less than 18.5, you are underweight.

Who is not eligible for the treatment?

Not every person with a lean figure is underweight. If your Body Mass Index is between 18.5 and 24.9, you are normal.

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Are there any side effects?

Overeating in an attempt to gain weight may result in diarrhoea. Exercising too much may result in soreness. Do not try to do all the things at once. Start slowly and proceed step by step.

What are the post-treatment guidelines?

You must continue to follow the routine you have set for yourself. Quitting once you have achieved a normal BMI will not help. You might end up losing weight again.

How long does it take to recover?

Getting over underweight condition depends on your determination and the effort that you put in. It may take about 3-4 months if a proper routine is followed without fail.

What is the price of the treatment in India?

You can get over underweight condition free of cost if you just have the mental strength to do so. In extreme cases, you may need the assistance of a dietician or a physical trainer. The costs may vary accordingly.

Are the results of the treatment permanent?

The results can be permanent if you keep following the set pattern. If you get back to your old ways as soon as you gain weight, the condition may worsen.

What are the alternatives to the treatment?

There are no alternatives to the treatment just to eat well and healthy along with exercising regularly.

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Written ByDt. Ms. Archana Desai P.G.In Dietitics,BSc - Dietitics / NutritionDietitian/Nutritionist
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