When an Indiana eighth-grader was asked about BMI in class, she took her teacher to school.
A few weeks before this student got a BMI assignment, every student in the class was weighed in front of their peers and made to calculate their BMI, or body mass index. According to the student’s mother, her daughter came home in tears after the exercise. She’s perfectly healthy, she eats well and she’s active … but according to her BMI, she was “obese.”
BMI is a system where ones weight is measured in relation to their height. Your BMI number will tell you which one of four categories you ‘belong’ to — underweight, normal, overweight, or obese.
All of this caused quite a bit of frustration for the young girl, which in return caused her to write a wonderful, long answer on her class assignment about BMI.
Here are the questions she had to answer :
She could have easily answered the question in direct fashion. Maybe quoting the definition of BMI and simply writing her calculated BMI for question two.
But she didn’t.
“BMI is an outdated way of defining normal weight, under weight, over weight, and obesity by taking one person’s height divided by their weight. One of the formula’s obvious flaws, explains Alan Aragon, the Men’s Health Weight Loss Coach and nutritionist in California, is that it has absolutely no way of discriminating fat and muscle. So, let’s say there is a fairly athletic woman who maintains a decent diet, she’s five feet, six inches, and she weighs 190 pounds, but 80% of her body is muscle. That doesn’t matter when calculating BMI! This woman’s BMI would be 30.7, and she would be labeled obese. Does that make sense to you? Because it sure doesn’t make sense to me.”
“How could someone who stays fit, eats healthy, and has a low metabolism be in danger of heart disease and diabetes? Oh, that’s right, because she isn’t in danger of obesity and heart disease. This woman is active and healthy and she is the furthest thing from obese. In conclusion, BMI is an outdated way of determining a person’s body health, and it’s a measurement that should not be used in a school setting where students are already self-conscious and lacking confidence in their unique bodies.”
“Now, I’m not going to even open my laptop to calculate my BMI. And I’ll tell you why. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a “bigger girl” and I’m completely fine with that; I’m strong and powerful. When you put a softball or a bat in my hand, they are considered lethal weapons. But, at the beginning of the year, I started having very bad thoughts when my body was brought into a conversation. I would wear four bras to try and cover up my back fat, and I would try to wrap ace bandages around my stomach so I would look skinnier. So my lovely mother did what any parent would do when they noticed something wrong with her child, she took me to my doctor. My doctor and I talked about my diet and how active I am.”
“He did a couple tests and told me I was fine. He said though I’m a bit overweight, he’s not going to worry about me based on how healthy I am. So this is where I don’t calculate my BMI because my doctor, a man who went to college for eight years studying children’s health, told me my height and weight are right on track. I am just beginning to love my body, like I should, and I’m not going to let some outdated calculator and a middle school gym teacher tell me I’m obese, because I’m not. My BMI is none of your concern because my body and BMI are perfect and beautiful just the way they are.”
Now that is an answer!
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