November 28, 2014
Being Underweight and Premature Death

Being Underweight and Premature Death

by Berkeley Wellness  |  

People who are underweight are at higher risk of dying prematurely than those who are obese, concluded a Canadian analysis of 51 studies, recently in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.Being too thin can be a marker for poor health, but these studies controlled for factors such as pre-existing illness and smoking.

What’s more, an analysis in the American Journal of Public Health in April concluded that for people over 65, increased mortality due to being underweight actually starts at the lower end of the “normal” range (below BMI of 22).

Underweight people are at increased risk because they lack energy reserves (in stored fat) needed if they get sick, and because they have less muscle and weaker bones. Underweight is defined as a body mass index (BMI) of less than 18.5: At 5'6" that would mean 114 pounds or less (see tinyurl.com/BMIcalculate).