Thursday, September 9, 2010

BMI- Or...

Or how your Denial of another girl's weight because she looks thinner proves my point.

The other day, I showed you a slide show
that I had seen.
It was of men and women- and
for humor's sake, a cat-
and listed their BMIs, along with their Heights
and Weights- or should I say, the components that
are used to calculate BMI.

To my horror, you agreed every time
a beautiful young woman
Until we reached her, a short young lady
with largish breasts and a bright label of OBESE
above her photo.

"She's OBESE? No she isn't, where are you
getting this???" you say.
I point to where her height (5'3") and
Weight (170lbs) is listed.
"That must be an old photo of her, there is no way that
she could possibly weight 170lbs!" and your denial of this
reality is a lead sinker to me.

"This," I explain, "is a photo project in which
people wer asked to submit
a photo of themselves and height and
weight at the time the
photo was taken. The point is that BMI is flawed.
That it has no conistent baring on the health of the subjects
and numbers don't predict a person"

You sputter then, and start to say that there
must be some reason why
the standard is still used- some proper data
must be recorded and consistent.
It takes me a long time to get you to understand that
BMI is a formula that is determined after recording Height and Weight
and that there is no reason

For this standard to keep on other than label someone's
fitness, for which purpose
it is useless- the point of this whole ordeal of
showing it to you.
This is after ramblings about measurements of necks waists
and heads- none of which are considered when little girls are given
a BMI in elementary school.

Little girls, just starting to mature, in a nurse's office with
a handful of other little girls
being measured and weighed on the mantis like scales
that always occupy that space.
As they step off the scales, and the school nurse tells her to put
her shoes back on as she calculates and then "publically" declares her
"Overweight" or even "Obese"

Maybe this isn't true anymore- I hope not, this public shaming of our
bodies just as they begin
to change and grow in ways we are trying to understand. I hope that
even if she is labeled "normal"
(which usage of the word is inaccurate) my niece is never made to
be given a label in the same small crowded spaces where I was shamed with
my body- height and weight.

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