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Is a BMI of 17 too low?


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I'm 14, 5'6 and weigh 111 pounds. I have a BMI or roughly 17. This site tells me that i am underwieght but i never considered myself underweight and many other BMI calculaters say that i am healthy.

Is 17 too low?
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anything under 18.5 is under weight lolly-pop!

did you want to loose weight?  why are you here?  are you happy and content with your body?
It's an underweight ADULT BMI.  If you use a calculator for children, then it might not be. 

CDC BMI Calculator - this is also used by the World Health Organization 
Check out the site above, just for kicks I put 5'6", age 14, girl, and 111 lbs. and it said "healthy".  Please remember the information on the site is geared towards adults who's needs are much different then yours.

At your age, an adult bmi chart is irrelevant.  I'd suggest google searching a pediatric bmi chart.

The BMI guidelines are for adults. Teenagers and older children usually have lower BMI than adults of the same height. 17 is fine at your age.

 This is another link to a site that's designed for under 21s... http://www.kidsnutrition.org/bodycomp/bmiz2.h tml ... and you score 'normal' at the moment.  If you're still 111lbs when you get to 17, 18, 19 then you'd be underweight.  In other words, eat well, eat plenty, be active, enjoy life and with luck you'll grow out of your healthy girl's body into that of a healthy woman. 

I used the CDC calculator and at my lowest weight (89 pounds) I was like in the 3rd percentile.  It was soooo weird.  I think I was at least in the green when I was in the 90's.  Idk it just told me what calorie count said.  I would use a calculator for teens though just to make sure.

Love Eun Chan

a.k.s -->esaetpirts<--

Here is the pediatric BMI calculator from about.com, our parent site. Be aware that even if it (or another weight you plug in) is a "healthy" BMI it does not mean that it is in fact healthy for you. That is really for your doctor to decide.

http://pediatrics.about.com/cs/usefultools/l/ bl_bmi_calc.htm

Any BMI or weight guide is just that....a guide.  

I find that the government guidelines suggest weights that are far too high as "ideal" or "healthy".  Unless you have a very large frame (which almost everyone does not)

You can just take one look at your body and decide if you're too thin.  It's nowhere near as complicated as it's made out to be.  I personally am tired of the extreme examples of either too thin or too fat.  Both are gross.  

The truth is- if you look fat- it's because you ARE fat.  If you look thin, it's because you ARE thin.  It's a personal preference- that's all.  There of course are far more health problems with carrying too much weight around, than too little, but if you're healthy and comfortable in your skin that's all you need.  I'm sure you have a lot of experience with this, but there is no shortage of overweight people who are dying to have the chance to tell you you're too thin.  

If you're eating in a healthy way, I'm sure you look just fine.

Original Post by girlnextdoor80:


The truth is- if you look fat- it's because you ARE fat.  If you look thin, it's because you ARE thin.  It's a personal preference- that's all.  There of course are far more health problems with carrying too much weight around, than too little, but if you're healthy and comfortable in your skin that's all you need.  I'm sure you have a lot of experience with this, but there is no shortage of overweight people who are dying to have the chance to tell you you're too thin.  

I completely agree with earlier posters who say that the original poster's weight is perfectly healthy for a 14 year old, and she shouldn't worry about it at all.

But I wanted to hijack this thread long enough to say that the highlighted portion of the above comment is not correct.  There are many dangers associated with a body weight that is too low: increased risk of anemia or infection, depression, and osteoporosis.  Being underweight is actually associated with more deaths than being overweight but not obese.

For an adult, anyone with a bmi under 18 is definitely risking their health. 

 kariqk- It seems you misread my post.  It's true that being extremely underweight (anorexic, etc.) is dangerous and can and does cause health problems including death but there are far more problems with being even a little overweight.

A BMI of 17 naturally is not associated with health risks. (Natural means you're not starving to have a BMI of 17)

At least 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese.  The number one cause of death in this country is from eating foods too high in fat and calories.  (with a miniscule percentage of "healthy" weighted persons associated with heart disease-whom eat foods too high in saturated fats, etc.)

There are lots of health problems associated with being underweight and many, many more from being fat.  

One of the problems in general in this country is when people change facts to support their opinion.  Facts are facts.  

The Number one cause of death in this country is heart disease.  

Number two (depending on which source) is cancer.  Being overweight puts you in a higher risk category for getting cancer, and at higher risk of death once you are diagnosed.  

And the third cause of death can have weight associations as well.  

Fat is a killer.  A BMI of 17 isn't.

 

 

 

 

 

girlnextdoor, if 70% of americans were underweight, death rates would reflect that. the only reason the rates of death from low body weight aren't higher is because it's a rare condition.

Original Post by girlnextdoor80:

Fat is a killer.  A BMI of 17 isn't.

I see more overweight people walking around and doing something good for themselves than people who are sickly thin- mostly because people who are that thin are sick mentally or physically, or are growing children who will NOT stay at that weight for the rest of their lives.

A BMI of 17 IS a killer. Many people who achieve that through weight loss have done more irreversable damage to their innards than those who are overweight and who's issues CAN be reversed through proper weight loss and healthy diet and exercise.

@girlnextdoor80 -- if you were saying that to an adult who is completely capable of seeing themselves as they are, not as they perceive themselves to be, I might not have a problem with it.  However, the OP was 14 -- which, generally speaking, is part of the huge demographic of females notorious for not believing when they ARE thin, much less understanding they LOOK thin.  So, I ask you to be aware of your audience.

Not all teens are like that, much the way not all adults are capable of seeing themselves as too thin -- poor body image is no age discriminator.

As far as this site is concerned, a healthy ADULT BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9, so, as the mission of the site is to promote healthy and sustainable weight management, please be aware that advocating a BMI of 17 as healthy may lead to your posts violating the posting guidelines and subject to deletion.

The healthy range of BMIs for children under 21 vary greatly, as do healthy weights -- weights and BMI which should be discussed with parents, guardians, and physicians.

Original Post by girlnextdoor80:

 kariqk- It seems you misread my post.  It's true that being extremely underweight (anorexic, etc.) is dangerous and can and does cause health problems including death but there are far more problems with being even a little overweight.

A BMI of 17 naturally is not associated with health risks. (Natural means you're not starving to have a BMI of 17)

At least 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese.  The number one cause of death in this country is from eating foods too high in fat and calories.  (with a miniscule percentage of "healthy" weighted persons associated with heart disease-whom eat foods too high in saturated fats, etc.)

There are lots of health problems associated with being underweight and many, many more from being fat.  

One of the problems in general in this country is when people change facts to support their opinion.  Facts are facts.  

The Number one cause of death in this country is heart disease.  

Number two (depending on which source) is cancer.  Being overweight puts you in a higher risk category for getting cancer, and at higher risk of death once you are diagnosed.  

And the third cause of death can have weight associations as well.  

Fat is a killer.  A BMI of 17 isn't.

 

 

 

 

 

Had to jump in here...

I'm sure you have good intentions, but your analysis of the situation is all wrong. From an epidemiological standpoint, yes there are a greater # of obese people in the United States then there are underweight people, and that is easily reflected in the numbers of heart disease, cancers, etc. (although many cancers have nothing to do with weight...so not sure where you're getting that statistic?)

Anyway, you're comparing two vastly different things. If you took 100 people at a very low BMI and 100 people at a very high BMI (qualifying as obese) you would see that a very low BMI is actually incredibly dangerous, if not moreso than being obese. Obesity leads to chronic illnesses, that need to be managed over time. However, often the effects of obesity CAN be reversed. Many people have lost weight and successfully staved off a close encounter with diabetes.

On the contrary, many underweight individuals (like another poster said) wreak havoc on their bones and internal organs that are much more difficult to repair.

And your quote about the problem is with people changing facts...well facts aren't really ever just facts. Everything has a bias or skew to it. Populations need to be weighted differently, things needed to be adjusted according to age, environmental factors, etc. You're using an extremely large sample size of obese americans and comparing it to what? Of course it will appear as though obesity is much more serious than being underweight when you create a sampling bias like that...

Remember correlation does not equal causation...

sorry- I meant to say Overweight.

I really liked your post and you have some good points.  I have yet to read the others.... but just so you all know,  I'm not advocating anyone be too thin.  I think I was very clear, at least I meant to be, that being too thin or being too fat is dangerous.  I don't want to see anyone not be their best.  There is zero indication that the OP has any disorders.  She was simply asking if she was too thin.  

The only point I had hoped to make was that a BMI of 17 tells you only a tiny bit about someones health.  If you have a BMI of 17 and you are naturally thin- you are probably fine.  

Eat healthy, live healthy and be healthy.  

Original Post by girlnextdoor80:

 kariqk- It seems you misread my post.  It's true that being extremely underweight (anorexic, etc.) is dangerous and can and does cause health problems including death but there are far more problems with being even a little overweight.

A BMI of 17 naturally is not associated with health risks. (Natural means you're not starving to have a BMI of 17)

At least 70% of Americans are either overweight or obese.  The number one cause of death in this country is from eating foods too high in fat and calories.  (with a miniscule percentage of "healthy" weighted persons associated with heart disease-whom eat foods too high in saturated fats, etc.)

There are lots of health problems associated with being underweight and many, many more from being fat.  

One of the problems in general in this country is when people change facts to support their opinion.  Facts are facts.  

The Number one cause of death in this country is heart disease.  

Number two (depending on which source) is cancer.  Being overweight puts you in a higher risk category for getting cancer, and at higher risk of death once you are diagnosed.  

And the third cause of death can have weight associations as well.  

Fat is a killer.  A BMI of 17 isn't.

 

 

 

 

 

Actually, I don't think I misread your post at all.  You're saying that a bmi of 17 is healthy, and that is simply not true.  A BMI under 17.2 is severely underweight and extremely dangerous.  You can, as other posters have said, harm your health severely if you maintain a bmi this low while an adult.

Yes, of course, there are more obese individuals than severely underweight individuals in America.  Frankly, it's much easier to become obese than severely underweight, given that most people are easily able to get the food they need. 

Starvation is pretty rare in the U.S. and other developed countries. This is a great thing.  But it doesn't mean that it doesn't kill.  It does.

Edited to add: I didn't really mean to start a debate with you (or anyone else) about this, and I apologize to the person who started the thread for taking it off in a different direction.  But I was worried that someone who is unaware of the dangers of being underweight might take this as a guide to their own weight, which could lead them to a host of health problems.

Original Post by girlnextdoor80:

Fat is a killer.  A BMI of 17 isn't.

I just wanted to point out that a BMI of below 17.5 is the cutoff for anorexia in adults.  I realize that the OP is a young teen so this doesn't apply to her, but a BMI of 17 is dangerously underweight for most people on here.

Your post is really oversimplifying things.  Of course there are more deaths in the US related to being overweight, because more people are overweight.  That still doesn't change the fact that being underweight is dangerous and unhealthy. 

Just another note to the O.P.: None of this applies to you.  You are beautiful and perfect, and just continue doing whatever it is that you've been doing because it's working for you.  Ignore the cranky old people arguing about statistics, because none of it applies to you!

Here's a link to the abstract of the article that I was talking about when I said that (for adults!) being underweight (bmi<18.5) puts you at a greater risk of death than being overweight but not obese (bmi 25-29): http://jama.ama-assn.org/content/293/15/1861. abstract

It found that both being underweight and being obese were linked to greater levels of mortality than being either normal weight or overweight but not obese.

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