Being overweight is harmful for health, but being underweight is equally harmful.
Many young women undergo dieting to become slim. The fad to remain slim is associated with the current concept that a slim figure looks attractive.
In a bid to become slim and beautiful, many adolescent girls resort to many measures including literally starving. A young woman may eat slim then indulge in episodes of overeating.
This deprives the person of the necessary nutrients and calories necessary for healthy functioning of the body. The result is anemia and protein calorie deficiency. The overall resistance of the body is reduced, making it more prone to diseases. Due to lack of necessary quantity of food and fiber in the food, one starts suffering from constipation and related gastric disorders. The result is loss of appetite, making the person feel more sick. Along with the physical health, the mental health is also affected. A woman who is not eating adequately will get tired easily and feel depressed. Same applies to men.
Crash dieting destroys the beauty of the face of a woman, thus negating the reason for which one ‘suffers’ so much. The long-term consequences of this kind of dieting are harmful. Women have an increased requirement of iron and calcium during adolescence, pregnancy, lactation and menopause.
If this requirement is not met, it can lead to anemia and softening of bones. This results in easy fatigue, backache and various kinds of aches and pains in the body. The capability of the body to take food and assimilate is also reduced, if the intake is not adequate for a long time.
Afterwards any time, if the affected lady wants to increase quantity of meals taken, it becomes difficult because the digestion becomes weak.
A woman’s body is shaped differently from that of man due to hormonal effects. Shape of the breasts, buttocks is due to deposits of fat, shaped by sex hormones. Lack of fat induced by dieting can cause menstrual disorders and even sterility.
To remain healthy, it is important to maintain normal body weight. But the healthy way to avoid obesity is to do physical exercise and work. Fatty foods like chocolates, cheese, e.t.c can be replaced by non fattening foods like fruits, vegetables and fish. Even fatty foods can be consumed very well if one is physically active.
The motto should be to eat well and work hard physically. This will keep the body slim, trim, fresh and healthy.
Dr Rachna Pande is a specialist in internal medicine