According to the researcher, Richard Sherbahn, who is a fertility specialist, the amount of attention being paid to the health risks of being overweight means that the perils of being underweight are being largely ignored, and the problem is being aggravated by the “size zero’ culture in girls and young women.
Sherbahn, from the Advanced Fertility Centre of Chicago, crunched the figures on almost 2,500 sessions of IVF carried out at his clinic over an eight-year period.
The women who were examined were divided into three groups by weight, very thin, normal and obese.
Almost 50 percent of those in the normal weight group had babies as compared with 45 percent of those in the obese group, which included women classed as dangerously obese, and just 34 percent of those classed as very thin.
All the women in the three groups produced similar numbers of eggs, and any problems for the very thin women must have occurred at a later stage in the process.
“It could be in evolutionary terms that if people were too thin that maybe food wasn’t readily available and maybe it wasn’t the best time to reproduce and maybe the uterus wasn’t at its best,” the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
“I am no expert on the sociological side of it but I have a teenage daughter and it seems that girls idolise models who are anorexic-looking.
“It seems that the ideal body structure for young women is this overly-skinny physique and women don’t understand that there is any concern about that,” he said.