ZocdocAnswersShould underweight people go on a diet?

Question

Should underweight people go on a diet?

Hello. I am slightly underweight, but I want to go on a diet. Is this dangerous? Just a few pounds I want off. I am a 26 year old female and the summer's coming up.

Answer

This sounds like a very dangerous idea. If you are underweight, this by definition means that you do not need to diet or lose weight. In fact, being significantly underweight puts you at risk of many medical problems, including low bone density (and osteoporosis later in life). I am also concerned about the fact that you are asking this question. This is because thinking that you need to lose weight, even though you are already underweight, could be a sign of a significant esteem or body image issue or even an eating disorder. I strongly suggest that you talk to your primary care doctor or your psychiatrist about this as soon as possible. This is especially critical if you are engaging in any restrictive food eating habits, such as eating only small amounts or low calorie foods. Also, if you ever induce vomiting or use laxatives or diuretics to control your weight, this is a serious sign suggestive of an eating disorder that needs medical attention. Eating disorders are one of the most serious medical problems that young women can have and they can actually be very dangerous, leading to death from a wide range of medical complications resulting from malnutrition.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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