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Problems of Being Underweight or Overweight

by
author image August McLaughlin
August McLaughlin is a certified nutritionist and health writer with more than nine years of professional experience. Her work has been featured in various magazines such as "Healthy Aging," "CitySmart," "IAmThatGirl" and "ULM." She holds specializations in eating disorders, healthy weight management and sports nutrition. She is currently completing her second cookbook and Weight Limit—a series of body image/nutrition-related PSAs.
Problems of Being Underweight or Overweight
Too little or too much body weight can lead to fatigue. Photo Credit posture image by rachid amrous-spleen from <a href='http://www.fotolia.com'>Fotolia.com</a>

Overview

Your body weight may correlate to overall wellness. Excessively high or low body weight can trigger complications, such as infertility, bone problems and lethargy. Often, your weight can be improved and managed through healthy lifestyle changes. In more serious cases, medical conditions or psychological disorders trigger weight changes. If you experience weight-related problems, seek guidance from your doctor.

Fertility Issues

Overweight and underweight individuals are at risk for infertility. Excess body weight is associated with reduced fertility in men. Women with polycystic ovary syndrome -- a condition associated with obesity and insulin resistance -- may also cause infertility. An unhealthy diet, a common contributor excessive weight gain and loss, can negatively affect men and women's ability to procreate.

In particular, diets deficient in vitamin C, folate (a B vitamin) and minerals selenium and zinc are associated with reduced fertility. Diets low in fruits, vegetables and whole grains and low-calorie, restricted diets may lack these nutrients. Low body weight can also cause a woman to stop menstruating, a condition known as amenorrhea. Reduced fertility is a common complication of amenorrhea.

Bone Health

Maintaining low body weight can derail nutrient intake and absorption. A restrictive diet, particularly one low in calcium and vitamin D, increase a person's risk for osteoporosis substantially. Osteoporosis often leads to stooped posture and serious bone fractures in later life. These conditions are serious risk factors of eating disorders that involve low body weight, such as anorexia.

Overweight and obesity can also hinder bone health. Young adult women with high body fat exhibited 8 to 9 percent weaker bone density than those with normal amounts of body fat. Obese people's bodies do not make sufficient amounts of bone mass for the amount of muscle and weight they carry. Thus, poor bone density, osteoporosis and bone fractures may occur.

Energy Level

Body weight often affects energy levels. People who regularly eat too much or too little are likely to experience fatigue. Since the body depends upon nutrient intake, severe calorie restriction and malabsorption of nutrients can leave too little fuel for the body's needs. As a result, people with illnesses characterized by weight loss, such as Crohn's disease, anorexia and certain types of cancer, and people who diet compulsively may experience fatigue.

Various factors and conditions contribute to fatigue, a number of which are associated with excess body weight. Such conditions include obesity, sleep apnea (a sleep disorder associated with obesity), type 2 diabetes and sedentary lifestyle.

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