The Metropolitan Life Insurance tables qualifies me as underweight. Should I be worried?

I am 5 feet 7 inches and weigh 108 pounds. By the Metropolitan Life Insurance tables, this qualifies me as underweight. But I’m only 18 and the tables don’t include my age group. I want to know if I should be worried and try to gain weight, but I can’t seem to find any information on my specific situation.

The Metropolitan Life Insurance tables were based on men and women, age 25 -29 with the lowest mortality rate (non-smoker, non-drinker without chronic disease). The weights were in pounds and assumed you were wearing indoor clothing (weighing 5 pounds for men, 3 pounds for women) and wearing shoes with one-inch heels. The weights were given for small, medium and large frame people. Body frame should be based on measuring your wrist circumference. However, body frame tables were based on a small sample of cadavers and these tables are not currently in use as a reliable determinant of body frame size.

At 18, you have likely completed your growth as a female. Your healthy body weight is 122 to 149 pounds. At 108, you are at 80% of your healthy body weight. But how do you feel about your weight?

Have you tried my Healthy Body Calculator® which will give you a personalized view of what your healthy weight should be?

Underweight can decrease your immune response to infection and disease as well as postpone menstruation. Your body makes hormones from body fat and sometimes when body fat is too low, women quit menstruating. I would suggest you increase your calorie intake by 500 calories per day while following a healthy eating plan. This should cause a 1 pound per week weight gain. If you would like a personalized healthy eating plan, try my HELP Healthy Eating for Life Plan®.

Do you exercise? If not, start a 30 minutes a day program that includes weight training and aerobic exercise. If you are going to gain weight, why not make it muscle rather than fat?