About two thirds of people in the US are either overweight or obese
However, there are also many people with the opposite problem of being too skinny
This is a concern, as being underweight can be just as bad for your health as being obese.
Additionally, many people who are not clinically underweight still want to gain some muscle.
Whether you’re clinically underweight or simply struggling to gain muscle weight, the main principles are the same.
This article outlines a simple strategy to quickly gain weight — the healthy way.
What Does Underweight Really Mean?
Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. This is estimated to be less than the body mass needed to sustain optimal health.
Conversely, over 25 is considered overweight and over 30 is considered obese.
Use this calculatorTrusted Source to see where you fit on the BMI scale (opens in a new tab).
However, keep in mind that there are many problems with the BMI scale, which only looks at weight and height. It does not take muscle mass into account.
Some people are naturally very skinny but still healthy. Being underweight according to this scale does not necessarily mean that you have a health problem.
Being underweight is about 2–3 times more common among girls and women, compared to men. In the US, 1% of men and 2.4% of women 20 years and older are underweight
Being underweight is defined as having a body mass index (BMI) below 18.5. It’s much more common in women and girls.
What Are the Health Consequences of Being Underweight?
Obesity is currently one of the world’s biggest health problems.
However, being underweight may be just as bad for your health. According to one study, being underweight was associated with a 140% greater risk of early death in men, and 100% in women
In comparison, obesity was associated with a 50% greater risk of early death, indicating that being underweight may be even worse for your health
Another study found an increased risk of early death in underweight men, but not women, suggesting that being underweight may be worse for men
Being underweight can also impair your immune function, raise your risk of infections, lead to osteoporosis and fractures and cause fertility problems
What’s more, people who are underweight are much more likely to get sarcopenia (age-related muscle wasting) and may be at greater risk of dementia .
Being underweight can be just as unhealthy as being obese — if not more. People who are underweight are at risk of osteoporosis, infections, fertility problems and early death.