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Should my elderly parent see a doctor if he or she is underweight?

Being underweight or losing weight can be a sign of disease or of poor nutrition. Your parent is underweight if his or her BMI (body mass index) is below 18.5. BMI is calculated using weight and height. You can find a calculator by searching online. Your parent should see a doctor every year, or sooner if you have concerns.
You should pay close attention to your elderly parents if they are underweight. People typically lose their appetites as they age, and their body composition worsens as well. 

Studies have found an association between increased mortality and low body mass index (BMI) in the elderly. However, health is determined by many factors outside of BMI alone. If your elderly parents have always been thin and they’re getting the nutrients they need, it’s less concerning. However, if they start to lose weight, it may signal a problem that needs attention. The key is not the weight or the BMI alone, but a person’s overall health and attention to healthy lifestyle habits.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.