Being consistently underweight can cause long term health problems, and have an effect on all of your bodily functions, including physically, psychologically and socially.

Psychological effects


  • Difficulty in decision making
  • Pre-occupation with food
  • Disinterest in hobbies and activities
  • Less spontaneous


  • Easily irritated or upset
  • Isolated from friends and family
  • Unwilling to maintain friendships


  • Obsessional, ritualised behaviour and routines
  • Setting rigid rules around what you must not eat or must not do
  • A need to be clean and tidy or hoarding behaviour

Physical effects

Heart and Circulation:

  • Loss of heart muscle
  • Lower blood pressure and pulse
  • Heart beat irregularities

Sex Hormones and Fertility:

  • All non-essential processes are stopped to preserve energy
  • Menstrual periods may stop which could result in infertility

Bones, Muscles and Joints

  • Reduction in bone strength
  • Increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures
  • The Muscles weaken and joints become swollen

Skin and Hair

  • A downy hair covering can start to grow on the face, forearms, back and abdomen.
  • Hair loss from scalp.
  • Dry skin

Temperature regulation

  • Reduction in body temperature, feeling cold

It requires real effort and application to regain a healthy mind-set and body weight. However, if you regain weight to a low, but healthy level, the majority of these symptoms will go away.

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