DR FLO: Help, I’m too thin!


It is healthier to have a body weight that does not change much.

Monday July 30 2018

I am a 23-year-old university student. I am very thin and I want to add weight. I have tried to eat bulky food but it has not given me results. Should I go to the gym or use supplements?

Which type of supplements or drug should I use to add weight? Jacob, Bondo

Dear Jacob,

You need to calculate your body mass index (BMI) by dividing your weight by your height in metres squared. For example, if you have a height of 1.8 m and weigh 60 kg, your BMI would be 60 divide by 1.8 metres squared, which would be 60 divide by 3.24. This would give you 18.5 kg/m2. A normal BMI is between 18 and 25.

Heavier is not necessarily healthier. Some people add or lose weight easily, while others do not change their weight easily. It is healthier to have a body weight that does not change much.

As long as you are not underweight or overweight, and you have no other health issues like getting sick frequently, then there is no need to worry. You need to accept your body as it is.

The low body weight may be due to your genes or due to your activity level. As you grow older, it will become easier to add weight as your metabolism slows down.

Focus on eating a balanced diet, exercising and avoiding unhealthy practices like smoking or taking too much alcohol. Going to the gym is beneficial to exercise the body, even if you do not add weight.

Avoid supplements or medication to make the muscles “grow”, because you can get all that your body needs from a balanced diet and the steroids that are used to add muscle have serious side effects.


Dr Flo, I am 42 years old and I weigh 89 kilogrammes. I go for medical check-up regularly without fail. For the last two months, I have been experiencing parched and irritated throat especially at night.

I used to love drinking ice water but I was advised to stop. I use a fan throughout the night. During the day, I am okay, but at night I am not. What could be ailing me? Peter

Dear Peter,

Having regular medical check up is an excellent habit. Keep it up!

If you use a fan all night in your bedroom, that is like being in a windy room. This can cause throat irritation, cough and sneezing. It can also cause dehydration, making you feel thirsty. The cooler temperatures at night can also cause throat irritation.

This is why you have the symptoms only at night and are well during the day.


Dr Flo, my five-year-old son often has a blocked nose and snores at night. He also gets frequent infections. The doctor said that he needs to have his adenoids removed to solve the problem. Is that the only treatment? I do not want him to go for surgery. Worried Parent

Dear Worried Parent,

Adenoids are a small mass of tissue at the back of the nose. They usually grow during the first 10 years of life, and then start shrinking.

If they overgrow, in what is called adenoid hypertrophy, they cause blockage of the nasal passage. This causes difficulty breathing and breathing with the mouth open; snoring, sometimes even when awake, and voice changes.

If the blockage is severe, it can interfere with the child’s sleep, because he has to keep waking up to breath. Adenoid hypertrophy can also lead to recurrent infections of the nose, throat and ears, changes in how the face develops, and even lung and heart problems. The problem is best dealt with by an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist.

If there is an ongoing infection, antibiotics will be useful. Nasal drops and nasal sprays may also be used.

If the symptoms are severe, surgery can be done to remove the adenoids. Enlarged tonsils can also be removed at the same time.

Surgery is usually a last resort, either because there is no improvement with medication or because the child gets sick too frequently or because the symptoms are severe and interfering with his feeding, sleeping, learning and growth.

Severe blockage can also lead to right heart failure and lung problems, so if the doctor thinks the child is at risk of developing this, surgery would be a good option.

Send your medical questions to [email protected] for absolutely free expert advice