Beauty Redefined Blog

The Lies We Buy: Defining Health at Women’s Expense

47


In June 2012, the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force renewed a call for physicians to screen all adult patients for obesity by calculating the patient’s BMI, or body mass index. If the patient is obese, doctors are urged to refer those patients to intense nutrition and fitness programs. Over the next two decades, experts expect a significant increase in the percentage of obese Americans.
 
Problem: The BMI is NOT a reliable indicator of health or even obesity. After years of researching perceptions of women’s health, I became interested in the Body Mass Index (BMI) and how it came to be the standard scale for judging a healthy weight. What I learned was shocking. 
 

Though accepted definitions of physical health should have remained relatively stable throughout the past several decades, public perceptions of female health have shifted dramatically toward a focus on thinness over the past 25 years, as evidenced by media’s almost exclusive depiction of healthy bodies as extremely thin, toned and free of any unsightly “blemishes” like cellulite. By the early ‘90s, the vast majority of magazine health content focused on weight loss (framed as a means to improve appearance), though overweight and obesity had not yet become national health concerns.

While science tells us that current beauty ideals of extreme thinness and tall, shapely perfection have little to no correlation with actual indicators of health and wellness, we still see tons of evidence that people believe this myth to be true:

  • The vast majority of girls and women now perceive underweight bodies and extremely low body weights as being ideally healthy
  • Even underweight and average-weight females are striving for weight loss using dangerous and unhealthy means, such as disordered eating and abuse of laxatives or excessive exercise
  • According to studies done in the last five years, 66 percent of adolescent girls wish they were thinner, though only 16 are actually overweight

Furthermore, in the last decade, there was a 446 percent increase in the number of cosmetic procedures in the U.S., with women undergoing 92 percent of those – the majority being liposuction. Add the cost of those voluntary surgeries to the $7 billion per year U.S. women spend on beauty products, and we have a population that spends $19 billion per year trying to achieve “beauty.” On top of that, with the relatively recent conflation of beauty ideals with health ideals, the weight loss and diet industries have begun to flourish unlike ever before, with an estimated $61 billion spent on the quest for thinness in 2010 – more than twice as much as Americans spent on all types of diet programs and products in 1992.

Through mass media, Americans are delivered a constant stream of messages telling us idealized beauty and health is attainable for any woman willing to devote enough time, money and effort – whether in the gym, at the mall or on the operating table. In case we need a harder push toward these ideals, we’re constantly reminded that the sacrifice is well worth it, based on ever-present media narratives telling women how to fix their flaws in order to find love, happiness, success and – perhaps most the most dangerous lie of all – health.

100 Years and 100 Lbs

Because women’s magazines are second only to physicians as sources of health information, I critically analyzed depictions and discussion of women’s bodies/health in magazines from 1900-2010, hoping to better understand how women’s body ideals have become so unrealistic. Here, I’ll describe just two stunning beauty ideals from this time period ­– 100 years and 100 lbs apart.

Perhaps the most well-known U.S. beauty icon at the turn of the 20th century was Lillian Russel, a stage actress and singer born in 1861. Her New York Times obituary (1922) repeatedly references her beauty, noting that “for more than 20 years, she had been known as one of the most beautiful women on the American stage.” At the peak of her fame, Russel weighed approximately 200 pounds and was celebrated for her curvaceous figure, as demonstrated in another NYT article about her (1902), in which the author extols her “superior beauty.” The way she was described genuinely caught me off guard: “[Russel] is a particularly robust and healthy creature, who takes good care to remain so.” Russel’s weight, which would be considered “obese” by today’s standard (the BMI), was actually considered a sign of her health and desirability.

Today’s most prominent fashion and beauty ideals represent the opposite end of the spectrum. British “anti-supermodel” Kate Moss’s gaunt, androgynous frame has been lauded by the fashion industry and earned her more than 50 women’s magazine covers and high-profile advertising campaigns. Her much-celebrated “waif” look dominated the fashion industry throughout the ‘90s and well into the next decade, as she ranked 2nd on Forbes’ top-earning model list in 2007 with an estimated $9 million salary. Her much-publicized 2009 statement to elite fashion magazine Women’s Wear Daily that “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” reflects a dangerous sentiment underlying today’s beauty ideals, as well as the fears of medical experts, as the quote soon appeared across “thinspiration,” or pro-eating disorder websites, worldwide.

Defining Health at Women’s Expense

A standardized table of average weights and heights for women was developed for the first time in 1908, when life insurance companies began looking for ways to charge higher premiums to applicants based on pre-screening by their own medical examiners. Though previous weight tables allowed for increasing weight with age (which naturally occurs), this new table was the first to deem an increase in weight after age 25 as undesirable and unhealthy. Thus, by setting the thresholds for “ideal weight” and “overweight” lower than what mortality data showed as the actual healthy weight ranges, they were able to collect more money for those they deemed “overweight.”

Though it would have been much more accurate to compare death rates with actual assessments of body fat, such as skinfold thickness or even simple waist circumference measures, these data were much more difficult and expensive for both the medical and life insurance industries to obtain than basic height and weight. In the 1800s, an equation was formulated to potentially predict body fat percentage (weight divided by height squared), and the life insurance industries and medical community latched on to it in the 1970s. This equation, which scientists warned was only meant to be used for large diagnostic studies on general populations and was not accurate for individuals, was named the Body Mass Index (BMI).

By 1985, the National Institutes of Health began defining obesity according to BMI, which defined “obese” according to the profit-driven standard set by the 1983 Metropolitan Life Insurance Company mortality tables. It is important to note that these standards did not take into account body frame or build, which were included in the previous tables after physicians demanded “small,” “medium” or “large frame” be factored in to avoid serious miscalculations of body fat.

In the first mention I could find of weight as a national issue, it was reported at a 1993 conference for the National Institutes of Health that 24% of men and 27% of women were overweight, according to the BMI. But by June 1998, those numbers skyrocketed while Americans’ weights stayed the same. Millions of people considered to be of ideal weight according to the BMI were suddenly categorized as “overweight” without gaining a pound when the NIH suddenly changed the rules. The BMI thresholds for what was considered “overweight” and “obese” were lowered and the standards for men and women were consolidated — despite the relationship between BMI and body fat being different for both genders.

  • On June 16, 1998, the “average” woman was 5 feet, 4 inches tall and weighed 155 pounds.
  • On June 17, a woman of that same height and weight was considered “overweight.”
  • The requirement for “average” dropped 10 pounds to 145, and a person of the same height who weighed 175 pounds was considered “obese.”

These standards are still in effect today, and individuals are encouraged to easily diagnose their own BMI status through the NIH website-hosted BMI calculator.

Dr. David Haslam, the clinical director of Britain’s National Obesity Forum, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper: “It is now widely accepted that the BMI is useless for assessing the healthy weight of individuals.” Despite extensive evidence proving the BMI lacks accuracy for calculating an individual’s body fat or healthy weight, the government defends it as the national standard due to the fact that it is “inexpensive and easy for clinicians and for the general public” (CDC, 2010). Thus, the financial interests of those who diagnose, define and profit from the definition of “health” in this country were prioritized over individuals’ accurate understandings of their own health. By upholding and enforcing a faulty measure, the insurance industry, medical industry and federal health agencies save a significant amount of money that could otherwise be spent on diagnostic tools and procedures that are reliable indicators of health.

To further prove the difference between the BMI and actual health, the National Cancer Institute and CDC reported that individuals who are overweight but not obese have a lower risk of death than those of the BMI’s “normal weight” category. Accordingly, a report from the International Journal of Obesity states: “BMI may lead to misclassification of persons with normal levels of fat as being overweight, a fact that could cause unnecessary distress and prompt unnecessary and costly interventions.”

From lost self-esteem, lost money and time spent fixing “flaws” and a well-documented preoccupation with thinness, the effects of profit-driven health information involve serious loss for women, while too many industries see huge economic gains. From the life insurance industry collecting higher premiums for those they deem “overweight” based on a standard they set themselves, to major financial savings for medical experts and the government using the profit-driven BMI, to the diet and weight loss industry raking in an estimated $61 billion on Americans’ quest for thinness in 2010, those who make money off the discourse surrounding women’s health are thriving unlike ever before.

When Women Hate Their Bodies, Their Health Takes the Hit

While representations of women’s bodies across all media have shrunk dramatically in the last 30 years, rates of eating disorders have skyrocketed – tripling for college-age women from the late ‘80s to 1993 and rising since then to 4% suffering with bulimia. Maybe even scarier is the 119% increase from ’99-’06 in the number of children under 12 hospitalized due to an eating disorder, the vast majority of whom were girls. Though the Department of Health reports that “no exact cause of eating disorders have yet been found,” they do admit some characteristics have been linked to their development, such low self-esteem, fear of becoming fat and being in an environment where weight and thinness are emphasized – all of which are shown to be related to media exposure of idealized bodies, which is all but inescapable.

Since the early 1900s, medical experts have agreed on the health dangers of extremes in body weight – both underweight and obesity. The anxieties incited by unrealistic thinness ideals perpetuated by mass media are contributing to two dangerous extremes in disordered eating: women turning to anorexia and bulimia, including exercise bulimia, as an attempt to fit the ideal on one end of the spectrum, and on the other end, women surrendering to unhealthy overeating and sedentary lifestyles in response to their perception that they are too far from the ideal to ever achieve an average or healthy weight.

A rich body of research that shows health and fitness often has very little correlation to body weight or even an individual’s BMI, as evidenced by a meta-analysis of medical studies since the 1970s that concluded overweight and active people may be healthier than those who are thin and sedentary (Macias Aguayo et al., 2005; Heimpel, 2009). Therefore, understanding that activity level is a much more reliable indicator of a person’s health than their body weight is key to promoting real, effective health goals that can lead people away from extremes like disordered eating and obesity.

With so many power holders with serious financial interests at stake in maintaining the disgust and anxiety females feel about their bodies, it is unlikely that the dominant portrayals/descriptions of women’s health will change anytime soon. Therefore, dismantling and revealing for-profit health myths must become the responsibility of everyone who recognizes their existence.

WHO CAN HELP:

  • health educators and practitioners who know the difference between thin ideals and indicators of physical fitness
  • parents, teachers, friends and other influential individuals who see signs of low self-esteem, distorted body perceptions and disordered eating in girls
  • media consumers who recognize negative feelings about their own or others’ bodies after reading or viewing media that represents ideals as normal or “healthy”
  • media decision-makers who can disrupt the steady stream of idealized bodies with positive representations of more normative shapes and sizes
  • Potential activists who are willing to visibly resist messages that repackage women’s health in objectified terms in any way possible, whether through volunteering to speak out against harmful ideals for any audience who will listen, or by attracting media attention toward the dangerous link between beauty ideals, low self-esteem and serious health consequences
  • medical experts, researchers and physicians who have influence over patients’ and colleagues’ perceptions of body fat measures and diagnostic tools

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Revealing the unrealistic nature of the “beauty ideals=health” myth and its influence on the way girls and women view and treat their bodies is a promising step toward improving women’s health. This can be done in simple ways, such as by:

  • pointing out the difference between media representations of women’s bodies and real-life women’s bodies while watching TV or flipping through a magazine with friends or family
  • gaining better understanding of realistic and healthy standards of body weight and physical fitness for ourselves and others over whom we have influence, such as by talking with your doctor and researching signs of optimal health for yourself
  • posting links or starting discussions on blogs and social networking sites (our FB page is a great place to start) to continuously spark conversation about dangerous thin ideals and those who profit from our belief in them
  • reminding ourselves and encouraging others to engage in physical activity as a means for improving physical and mental health, rather than a strategy for achieving unattainable beauty ideals
  • developing and helping to implement accurate and reliable measures of healthy weight, whether that means developing new algorithms that can better predict individual body fat or (if you’re a medical expert or practitioner) steering clear of the BMI in favor of other financially feasible measures that are more accurate, such as waist circumference measurement or skinfold thickness — or, more importantly, taking the focus off of body size or fat altogether in favor of a focus on physical activity

For an even more condensed and updated version of this research, please read our important two-part series “Healthy Redefined.”

Citation:

Kite, Lindsay. (2011). The Lies We Buy: Defining Health at Women’s Expense. Conference paper presented at the National Communication Association, Nov. 18, 2011.

(For a complete list of references, the full PDF of this paper is available here: Kite, Lindsay – NCA Paper, Defining Health at Women’s Expense)

 

  1. Emma
    Emma01-24-2011

    Would the list of google ads below your article be classified as ironic??

  2. Emily
    Emily01-25-2011

    I really want you and Lexie to come and teach a group of photographers what you have learned! I really enjoy reading your research! This article in particular spoke to me. I have been annoyed with the bmi as long as I can remember. In high school I was considered overweight according to that stupid scale and I didn’t think I was. Now, I am free! Thank you!

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined01-27-2011

      You are a wonderful example of how the BMI should not be used to classify anyone! No one on earth would every say you were (or are) overweight. Not a chance. Thanks for the nice words! Lexie and I are planning to head up to IF for a presentation in the next couple of months, so we’ll keep you updated and you can invite your photographer friends!

  3. girlnixon
    girlnixon01-25-2011

    I much enjoyed. I too believe that healthy is more than a number on the bathroom scale. :) brenda

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined01-27-2011

      Thank you! If only more people agreed! I think the world would be a healthier, happier place.

  4. Lili
    Lili01-25-2011

    I’m so glad you’re sharing your research on this blog–this information is so important and valuable.

    I think that for every beauty magazine a woman (or man) reads, they should counter-balance it with one of these blog posts!

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined01-27-2011

      Thank you! I really wish we could counteract all the thousands of negative messages with as many positive ones!

  5. Kari
    Kari01-25-2011

    Yeah, the hcg ad is pretty awesome. :) So after I’m done having kids, I might have a tummy tuck since my stomach looks a bit like Kate Gosselin’s. Acceptable or not?

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined01-27-2011

      I’ll give you my mom’s favorite response: “You just do whatever you think is right.” Haha.

  6. Jolyn
    Jolyn01-27-2011

    As Emily mentioned she feels freed by knowing she does not have to define her health by the BMI, how many other women are feeling trapped by what they have been deemed by this for profit measurement? We need to have health measurements individualized not categorized. To be targeted by just a number, could clearly lead to unhealthy measures of dealing with the way it makes individuals feel.
    It is also is interesting to see how much change have gone on in the last 100, 20, or 10 years. It makes me lose hope for future generations. Unless, more women unite in saying we will not except what those who profit off of us deem as normal, beautiful or even “healthy”. Let us redefine the way we are enticed as consumers instead of allowing the media to redefine the way we think of ourselves.

  7. Lori Andersen
    Lori Andersen02-07-2011

    Have you ever read “Fat Politics”? It’s a must! The author discusses this same principle, yet points out those that were on the NIH board that changed the BMI definitions were also affiliated with weight loss pharmaceutical companies.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined02-07-2011

      I need to read that! I’m incredibly unsurprised at the link between the NIH and pharmaceutical companies though. SCARY! Thanks for your support, girl!
      -Lindsay

  8. Samurai Mom
    Samurai Mom02-07-2011

    Thank you so much for this article and your project. The BMI says that at 5′ 2″ and 175lbs I am squarely in the obese category. I think looking at me one would be hard pressed to even call me over weight. Even at my lowest adult weight of 145lbs (working 2 jobs, barely eating or sleeping, morning sickness and bones poking out) the BMI still categorized me as overweight.

    I even lied recently on an insurance form for fear that they would consider me overweight solely on my BMI and therefore unhealthy and charge us more money.

    Thanks for what you are doing, and for the record I love my my body all 175lbs of it!

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined02-08-2011

      Thank you for your support! We’d love your help spreading the word on this work — and your blog is fantastic! Keep loving what you’ve got! You have every reason to.

    • Health Conscious Reader
      Health Conscious Reader06-19-2012

      Not overweight at 5’2″, 175 lbs.? Hmmm, I think you’re deluding yourself. Unless you’re a professional body builder, there is no way you are not obese!

  9. Andi
    Andi02-24-2011

    Holy cow! Thanks for sharing that! I appreciate your diligence in providing information. I am utterly shocked. And ticked off at the BMI…

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined02-26-2011

      So glad you liked it! (if “liked” is really the right term…) Your reaction is exactly what I felt when researching this!
      -Lindsay

  10. Mindy
    Mindy03-04-2011

    I just found this post after commenting about the BMI on one of your other posts. I had no idea they had changed the scale (or how it even came to be). It is a load of crap! Thanks for sharing.

  11. Chani
    Chani03-09-2011

    Just read the article in the update about the BAI. The title cracked me up: “Better than BMI?” As if anything could be worse. I truly hope this new method of measurement will be implemented along with much more individualized approaches to ascertaining health, it’s just so necessary. I hate the idea of blanket solutions to complex problems anyway, and this is no different! Thanks for the update! Keep up the good work!

  12. Kell Brigan
    Kell Brigan03-11-2011

    “FINALLY, scientists are on their way to replacing the faulty BMI with a new, more reliable measure called the BAI (body adiposity index), which relies on waist and hip measurements to calculate healthy weight. ”

    How are “calculations” going to change someone’s genes? Safe & permanent weight loss DOESN’T EXIST — after four years, the percentage of people who’ve yoyoed back to their starting weight is 99.75%, and yoyo weight changes create the diseases that weight “loss” claims to be trying to dure. Weight “loss” attempts are NEVER health-promoting, so why continue to play chart games? There is never a good excuse for encouraging someone to try to change their weight. Living healthfully will result in some people being fat, period, no matter what the charts say.

    Same sh**; different day.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined03-11-2011

      You’re right – calculations are never going to be the answer. Fortunately, I do see it as a step in the right direction that can at least categorize fewer healthy people as “overweight” or “obese” and alleviate at least a few fears of obesity in otherwise healthy people. Anything that beats the BMI as a measure to gauge an approximate healthy weight is an improvement in my book. But it’s SO true that weight loss attempts are never health-promoting. They’re profit-promoting. I’m fully behind you in your statement that “living healthfully will result in some people being fat, period, no matter what the charts say.” My issue is with the definition of “fat,” which people gauge according to standardized charts like the BMI (and probably the BAI). (And I apologize for the censorship at the end of your post – but we have lots of young and conservative readers.) Thanks so much for your important comment.

    • Revenwyn
      Revenwyn03-26-2012

      “FINALLY, scientists are on their way to replacing the faulty BMI with a new, more reliable measure called the BAI (body adiposity index), which relies on waist and hip measurements to calculate healthy weight. ”

      This doesn’t take into consideration rib cage size or body shape. For instance, I am 5’4″, my ribs are 40″, and I can actually see and count them. Because of this my waist can never get under the recommended 35 inch maximum waist that a woman should have. My hips are 42 inches and bony. I weigh 185 and have 20% body fat according to hydrostatic weighing. This would put me well into the “obese” range according to the BMI. The only way people are going to get an accurate assessment of whether they’re slim, average, overweight, or obese is for doctors to quit being lazy and at least order a test with calipers if they can’t get anything else. The new body fat scales can be as much as 10% off.

  13. Jamie Nielson
    Jamie Nielson04-13-2011

    I am so glad I read this today – being considered “obese” by BMI standards has really taken its toll on my self esteem. While I only feel chubby somedays, it’s hard to hear that you’re actually obese; I mean, what am I supposed to do with that?! So thank you – this is just what I needed to pick myself up :-)

    Jamie

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined04-13-2011

      Jamie, that’s exactly the purpose of this research! Liberating, right? You’re beautiful. Thanks for your comment and pass this message along!
      -Lindsay

  14. Dr. Deah Schwartz
    Dr. Deah Schwartz04-18-2011

    Found your blog via Regan’s Blog and thought you may be curious about my size acceptance, diets don’t work, body image reparation site! Your work is great! Thanks!

  15. Pere
    Pere04-27-2011

    So don’t hate me for this, but sometimes the numbers are good. Not BMI by any means, which is a very antiquated and very bad method for judging obesity, but the hip to waist ratio that they talked about is a great way to gain an overall idea as to healthy a person is. The hip to waist ratio is calculated by dividing the circumference of the waist at its smallest point by the circumference of the hips at their widest point. Waist to hip ratio of 0.8 in women and 0.9 in men is generally considered a good ratio. For example as a man, i could have a 38″ waist and a 42 1/4″ hips and have a ratio of .9. Anything higher than that ratio has been found to have a direct correlation with greater incidences of heart failure, with the risk increasing by as much as 30% for every 20% ratio increase. (Research presented at the recent conference of the Heart and Lung Transplantation Society) Essentially meaning for every time your hip to waist goes up by .2, your risk of heart failure increases by 30%. So don’t fixate on the numbers and obsess about them, but still be cognizant that there is a correlation with the ratio, and be aware that the higher ratio you have, the higher risk you have of serious cardiovascular complications.

  16. toasty redhead
    toasty redhead05-14-2011

    Right on!

  17. Emily
    Emily08-09-2011

    I’d love to hear more about the definitions of beauty over the century that you studied! Quite fascinating.

  18. Kathy
    Kathy11-03-2011

    Lillian Russell was also known for her corset. She looked curvy instead of overweight because she abused her body to squeeze into a tiny waist.
    She was NOT “a particularly robust and healthy creature, who takes good care to remain so.”

  19. Jessica
    Jessica11-06-2011

    I’m a proponent of HAES, but some of your information in this article is incorrect. I am in the process of completing my dissertation which involves BMI measures. BMI was not developed in the 1970s, it was developed in the 1800s by Adolphe Quetelet. The equation was re-named BMI in 1972, but it was around for a long time before that! See: http://ndt.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/1/47.full

    I would change this if possible. The last thing we need is people missing the message of your article because they feel the facts weren’t checked out properly.

  20. Lisa
    Lisa12-04-2011

    Have you seen the illustrated BMI project? It really shows what a crock the BMI is. http://www.flickr.com/photos/77367764@N00/sets/72157602199008819/

  21. Nathan
    Nathan12-07-2011

    The ultrathin ideal started 25 years ago? No, it started with Twiggy 40 years ago and had a slight reprieve in the mid 80s. The idea of beauty confounded with health is new? No, even in her own article from 1902 the description includes health and beauty as a related concept. Nothing new there. She states an “average” woman in 1998 was 5’4″ and 155lbs. That’s just bad math. Weight varies with the square of height and so taller women in the pool skew the data. Does the author really think 155lbs is a good weight for a woman 5’4″? Also, we are learning more and more that thin people really do live longer.
    In the last 5 years only 16% of adolescent girls are overweight? According to who? Obesity in children is rampant and getting worse every year. It’s true BMI is a lousy tool for assessing individuals and should ONLY be used for aggregate data. Having a healthy amount of muscle will throw off your BMI very quickly.
    I’m all for promoting positive body images and agree with the fundamental assertion that media promotes unrealistic body images adding to insecurity and unhealthy behaviors in women, but let’s not use bad science to make the point.

    • Beauty Redefined
      Beauty Redefined12-07-2011

      Hi Nathan, happy to address your “bad science” accusation. The stats you’re taking issue with are directly from the CDC – the federal health agency and the No. 1 source for the nation’s info on all things obesity-related, as you well know. They’re from the most recent national data released and can all be found easily through a simple Google search or a scan of the CDC website – that includes the fact that yes, only 16% of adolescent girls (ages 6-19) are overweight and that in 1998, the CDC and all other federal and medical agencies (based off the BMI) considered the “average” woman to be 5’4″ and 155. I didn’t make up those numbers, nor do I agree that they are good math, but they’re the only math this country has relied on. And I never made any assertions that 155 is a “good weight,” which would be so far beyond the point of this article that I’m wondering if you really read it. And as for your statement that “we are learning more and more than thin people really do live longer,” it would be great if you could back that up with some research. There’s plenty of research to suggest otherwise, including a rich body of research that shows health and fitness often has very little correlation to body weight or even an individual’s BMI, as evidenced by a meta-analysis of medical studies since the 1970s that concluded overweight and active people may be healthier than those who are thin and sedentary. Here are a couple of good overviews from mainstream magazines that you should check out: http://www.thedailybeast.com/newsweek/2009/08/26/who-says-americans-are-too-fat.html and http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1066937,00.html.

  22. Rebecca Bartlett
    Rebecca Bartlett06-20-2012

    Are you kidding me?!?! I JUST found out Im in the 3RD PERCENTILE (incredibly underweight for my height age and sex) and now I find out that not only is the BMI crap but that Im possibly even more underweight than Im being told??? -__- Oh now Im pissed… *Sigh* I can’t believe some of the crap people believe now a days and the amount of crap the government expects us to believe just because its cheap!! As far as dieting goes, I don’t I just literally dont have the energy or the stomach room to eat as much as I should. (The last few days Ill be lucky if I ate 600-1000 calories a day). This is incredibly dangerous for people with eating disorders such as I have. I grew up on very little food because we were always poor and because I have a very high metabolism I was all skin and bones growing up, besides my boobs which I have no idea how Im still a C nearly D cup at 97 lbs… My point is, Ive always had an eating problem but my BMI was usually on the low end of “healthy” even though I’ve always felt sickly tired sluggish, anemic ect ect. It pisses me off that even now at my weight, when I feel terrible and sick all day the BMI calculator still could be practically lying to me about my weight, a problem that could potentially cost me my life. This is just sick.

    (And I know, I am really trying to gain weight healthily and get my nutrition back on track but like Ive stated, Ive got a small stomach that has never really been stretched out, and I have a very high metabolism plus never really having eaten well its hard to start over from scratch. Especially when my fiances solution to me being hungry is bacon… every time xD ha-ha)

    I hope we kick these bastards where it hurts. In their pocketbooks. It’s just plain greed that is causing too many people problems and it needs to stop. I wish there was a way to have it stripped from any and all medical dictionaries. The dang NIH should be banned from ever posting another BMI calculator again!