'Obsession' with obesity means underweight problems missed

Britain's 'obsession' with a looming obesity crisis means other weight issues, such as weighing too little, are wrongly being swept under the carpet, reports bbc.co.uk.

A study by the University of Essex, presented at the European Congress on Obesity, warns that society is focused almost exclusively on obesity and that being underweight is a serious and under-recognised problem in Britain.

The study of almost 10,000 children aged nine to 16 years old in England found that girls were significantly more likely to be underweight than boys, while the numbers of underweight children are also said to have trebled in the last 25 years.

In addition, the study reported the fear of becoming obese, rising food prices, poor diets and a lack of muscle from low levels of exercise may all be playing a role.

Like overeating, weighting too little is a debilitating disease that can have serious ramifications if not treated. Hypnotherapy courses, doctor's advice and strict dietary regimes all have the potential to play a part in helping to solve Britain's weight crisis.

Ayodele Ogunleye, one of the study's authors, told independent.co.uk: "The main risk associated with being underweight is an increased chance of osteoporosis, a disease of bones that leads to an increased risk of fractures.

"They are much more likely to have osteoporosis and much lower bone density. Underweight people are likely to be less fit and active, which would also increase their cardiovascular risk," he warned.