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You may have wondered for a while if you are underweight. Perhaps friends or your parents have mentioned it or perhaps our healthy weight calculator has told you that you may be underweight.
Your GP, practice nurse or school health visitor can give you help and advice. There may be an underlying medical cause for your low weight that needs to be checked out. Perhaps you haven’t been eating a healthy, balanced diet. Or maybe you're having emotional problems and, without realising it, have changed your eating habits to help you cope.
Whatever the situation, if you're concerned about your weight, or if something about your food or diet is worrying you, the best thing to do is to tell someone. There’s lots that can be done to help.
Talk to someone
Even if you already know all about healthy eating, there may be other issues that are stopping you from eating a healthy diet.
If you feel anxious or worried when you think about food, or you feel you may be using control over food to help you cope with stress, low self-esteem, or a difficult time at home or school, then you may have an eating disorder.
People with eating disorders often say that they feel their eating disorder is the only way they can keep control over their lives. But that’s an illusion: it’s not them who are in control, but the eating disorder.
If you feel you may have an eating disorder, help is available.
Tell someone: ideally your parents, guardians or another adult you trust. You can also find help and advice at the B-eat website. B-eat runs a Youthline where you can talk about your concerns and get advice.
Why are you underweight?
If our healthy weight calculator has told you that you may be underweight, think about why this might be.
Why it matters
Being underweight is bad for you. It’s bad news for your health now, and for the future. Consequences include:
A healthy diet
If you're underweight, aim to gradually gain weight until you achieve a weight that is healthy for your height and age.
It’s crucial that you gain weight the right way so avoid reaching for chocolate, cakes, fizzy drinks and other high-calorie foods full of saturated fat and sugar. They are likely to increase your body fat, instead of your lean body mass.
Instead, eat three meals and three snacks a day. Follow these healthy eating principles:
If you’re trying to gain weight, choose foods that are healthy and packed with energy. Try the following:
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