I'd like to talk about two things today.
As many of you know, I am concerned with body image, feminism, and women's issues. So naturally, I was opinionated on the recent Biggest Loser Finale.
Rachel won with a BMI of 18. For adults, anything under 18.5 is considered medically underweight.
For a teenager, a BMI of 18 is fine. For an adult woman, it is not. Especially when the person used to be overweight (perhaps even obese) before.
Not only is an extreme weight loss like that unhealthy for the person, I'm mostly concerned about the message being sent. Rachel's weight loss sends the message that a BMI of 18 is "good" and that an extreme weight loss like this can be easily achieved, which is not true- an average person would need to achieve this under medical supervision.
The next issue that came to my attention lately also has to do with BMI.
It's Seventeen's BMI calculator.
(Just ignore the BMI that's on there, that is not mine haha- for some reason it was just on the image.)
First of all, I have no idea how they came up with this scale- I have no clue why it switches between two different ranges every other year.
But more importantly, the ranges are ALL WRONG. The one for 20+ is correct, but the rest of them aren't.
Let's take age 18 for example. By age 18, a female is mostly fully developed with a woman's body. Because it considers OVERWEIGHT anything over 21.7, that barely allows any room for curvier body types to be in the healthy range.
This woman here has a BMI of 22. If this were an 18 year old, she'd be considered overweight by Seventeen. She obviously looks healthy.
Meanwhile....an 18 year old girl with a BMI of 15 would be considered "healthy" by Seventeen. According to the DSM-IV, a BMI under 17.5 is considered anorexic.
This girl from tumblr above has about a BMI of 15 (possibly less.) She has an eating disorder and obviously looks unhealthy.
NICE GOING, SEVENTEEN.
Luckily, they've gotten this taken down. But what upset me is that so many girls read Seventeen and got the totally wrong data. When I was like 13-14 and had a developing body, my BMI was like 20. Because that would have been closer to overweight on this calculator, that would have freaked me out. And that's not overweight AT ALL, especially for a female going through puberty.
Honestly, I'm not going to hold Seventeen against this, since they actively campaign against eating disorders and body acceptance. I just think someone who made this was stupid and didn't do their research.
If anyone was wondering what an ACCURATE BMI scale is, here you go:
(Keep in mind this is for adults. If you're a teenager like 14-18, the healthy scale dips a bit lower. As a general rule, 17+ is fine for those ages.)
So I thought I would just put that out there to make sure someone is informed correctly. When so many people are vulnerable to body image issues, the people with the most power NEED to have the right information and promote the right message.