We are all probably aware of where we fall on the BMI (body mass index) chart, but one teen from Indiana refused to chart her BMI as part of an assignment from her teacher, taking a stand saying the practice is “outdated”. The 14 year old softball player named Tessa is a very athletic healthy young woman who, according to BMI standards, is considered “obese”.
Today reports about Tessa’s refusal to take part in a BMI assignment and instead writing an essay about how she feels the practice of measuring people this way is “an outdated way of defining normal weight”.
It all started weeks earlier when Tessa was required to weigh herself in PE class and then calculate her BMI with all of her classmates. After finding out that she herself fell in the “obese” range on the BMI and saw some of the larger girls leaving class that day who looked very upset. Tessa explains, “"Some girls in my class had been labeled obese and overweight when they really weren't, including me. And I knew I wasn't obese.”
But even though Tessa knew she was very athletic and healthy, the label managed to throw her for a loop. Just for some reassurance Tessa and her mother, Mindi Embry, went to their family doctor for a second opinion and a full physical. Embry explains how having the support of her doctor and parents helped to make Tessa realize the BMI label didn’t matter. Embry says, “The doctor told her, 'You have a good diet, you're very active, you're very strong. You're good to go. I give you a clean bill of health.’”
Fast forward to a few weeks later when Tessa is asked to take part in another assignment calculating her BMI. With her mother’s blessing, Tessa rebelled and rather than doing the assignment she wrote an essay about how inaccurate the BMI system can be. In part of the essay she writes, “In conclusion, BMI is an outdated way of determining a person’s body health, and it’s a measurement that SHOULD NOT be used in a school setting where students are already self-conscious and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.”
Tessa’s mom was so impressed with her daughter’s way of dealing with the situation that she posted the essay to her personal Facebook and from there the story quickly went viral with many people in support of Tessa. Mindi Embry explains, “I had no idea it would get this big. I just posted it to my personal Facebook page because I'm really proud of her.”
What do you think of Tessa’s reaction to the BMI assignment at her school?
Do you think BMI is a good measure of a person’s health or is it an outdated practice?