We hear a lot in the media about the health risks of being overweight. But being
underweight comes with its own set of risks — one of which is an increased
risk of osteoporosis and fracture.
In fact, weighing less than 120 pounds is one of the strongest risk factors for
poor bone health. There are a few reasons why. Having lower body weight means you
tend to have less muscle mass, and bone mass is closely related to muscle mass.
Thin women also generally eat less, and may be less likely to consume sufficient
nutrition for bone building. Finally, if a woman’s body fat is too low, her
periods will become irregular or will stop altogether, which is a major risk factor
for poor bone health.
If you’re underweight, you owe it to your bones to gain a few pounds. But
don’t take this as a green light to eat processed and sugary foods. Healthy
weight gain means eating larger portions of healthy foods, or eating more often
during the day. You may also have to reduce your level of physical activity if you
exercise a lot. All that activity won’t help your skeleton unless it has the
nutrition it needs to build bone.
Gaining weight is as difficult for some women as losing weight is for others. Our
patients have had the most success when they focus on maximizing nutrient intake.
The nutritional guidelines in our Better Bones Program will help you choose the
right foods for healthy weight gain.
Return to risk factors
Start reducing your risk
of bone loss and fracture