Underweight puts you at a risk of:

  • Nutritional deficiencies
  • Decreased immunity
  • Increased risk for fractures
  • Higher risk of death

Gaining weight can promote:

  • Strength and functionality in the elderly,
  • Help with healing after surgical procedures
  • Prevent falls

Causes of underweight:

  • Natural loss of muscle and bone mass
  • Dental problems
  • Diminished senses
  • Chronic illness


  • Increase the calorie intake. Use more olive oil, peanut butter and whole milk
  • Drink smoothies made with frozen fruit, milk powder, whole milk and honey between meals.
  • Eat often, especially if you have a poor appetite. Try six to eight small meals a day.
  • Eat healthy versions of sweets. Puddings, sweetened yogurt, custards and muffins made with whole grains and dried fruit.
  • Seek assistance with shopping. Ask your family, a neighbor or friend to go with you to the grocery store and have them help you select foods that do not need extensive preparation. Stock up on cheese, frozen meals, fruits and vegetables, whole grain breads and canned meats.
  • Attend family meals or senior potlucks at your local YMCA, hospital or senior center. Having company may inspire you to eat more and sample a variety of food.


Consult with your doctor first if on a special diet or taking medications for a condition like diabetes, high blood pressure or kidney disease.



Developed by Austin Regional Clinic

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.