In the metros, obesity has become a common problem, but in smaller towns and villages, people are often underweight due to poverty or lack of proper dietetic knowledge. Persons below average weight run the risk of increased mortality and are especially liable to tuberculosis and other acute infectious diseases. A starving person has slow pulse, low blood pressure, marked emaciation, lose of hair and inelastic skin. Large sums of money are wasted in every country on tonics and vitamins for increasing weight. With a limited budget, the same money could more wisely be spent on nourishing, high-calorie foods.
1. A high-calorie, high-protein and high-carbohydrate diet is needed.
2. Since the functions of intestines (digestion and absorption) are decreased, feeding programmes should be gradual.
3. A gradual increase of 500 kcals/day is advised. (For eg. If normal energy requirement is 2000 kcals, then recommended energy requirement should be around 2500kcals.)
4. Foods rich in proteins should be included. This is necessary for tissue building.
5. The inclusion of high-calorie fatty foods (like cream, butter, etc) should be gradual so as to avoid the possibility of indigestion and diarrhea.
6. Carbohydrates in cereals and cereal products like biscuits and bred are recommended as they supply high calories at low costs.
7. Start the day with 1 glass of lukewarm water and ½ tsp lemon juice ½ tsp honey as this aides in good digestion throughout the day.
8. Intervals between meals should not be more than 3 hours.
9. Never lie down immediately after meals. There should be a gap of around two hours between dinner retiring to bed.
10. Fluids should not be taken before or with meals, but only afterwards so that food intake is not reduced.
11. Eating street food cooked in contaminated water or food fried in spurious oil can lead to infections. Take care of hygiene.
12. Regular exercise helps to stimulate appetite and keep constipation at bay.
13. Weight lifting exercise under proper supervision helps to improve body frame and increase weight.
14. Protein supplementation after heavy workouts is very necessary in the form of milk shakes and protein powders.
15. People who starve deliberately to lose weight or have a negative body image need individual attention and combination treatment of family members, dietician and doctor.
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