Underweight women are predisposed to suffer reproductive issues due to hormonal imbalance, Dr Ayodeji Abdulrasheed, a dietician, said on Tuesday.
Abdulrasheed, who works at the StaMed Nutritional and Health Services in Alimosho, Lagos, spoke in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos.
According to him, anyone who has a below- normal Body Mass Index (BMI) is said to be underweight and requires medical attention to prevent further health complications.
“Being underweight causes hormonal imbalances that may halt or disrupt the menstrual cycle which can complicate the reproductive system and cause delay.
“Women with a below-normal BMI may also find it more difficult to get pregnant, sometimes taking a year or more to do so.
“However, if underweight women are able to conceive, majority are more likely to have a miscarriage in the first trimester, or at greater risk of delivering premature or underweight babies.
“Most people, who are underweight, do not eat enough calories or nutritional food to maintain a healthy weight.
“This puts the body at risk for deficiencies in nutrients that support the overall good health; the top health risk for underweight women is reproductive problems,’’ he said.
The dietician listed nutrients deficiencies and impaired immunity as top health risks associated with underweight women.
“Deficiencies in iron, folate and vitamin B-12 can cause anemia; this leads to dizziness and low energy and such condition can be dangerous for women who are in their reproductive age.
“When the body doesn’t get enough nourishment required, it will lack the required energy for daily activities.
“Also, the body will not have enough of certain nutrients, such as protein and antioxidants that strengthens one’s immune function.
“Protein is essentially needed to make hormones and it is critical for healing wounds, synthesising cells that fight infections and also poses the person at higher risk for life-threatening diseases like cancer,’’ he said.
Abdulrasheed, therefore, urged women, especially those of reproductive age, to maintain a healthy diet to achieve hormonal balance and help with weight management.