(Mirror Daily, United States) – A gym teacher wanted to raise awareness of obesity and the health dangers it comes with. For this purpose, the physical education instructor asked her students to write a paper about BMI, calculating their own score and labeling themselves according to the results. But one teenager’s BMI homework went viral as she opposed the crude labeling method that can only lead to negative mental health effects when applied to high school students.
Tessa Embry, an Evansville teenager, decided to fight the system when she was asked to label herself as an obese person, according to her BMI score. When doing her homework, she wrote two pages about how the index of body mass is an outdated measuring instrument and how the self-esteem of students can be severely damaged if teachers continue to label them according to the results of the formula.
Embry is a curvy teenager, but certainly not an obese one. And she is not the only one to dismiss the legibility of the BMI. A study that was published a couple of months ago concluded that BMI is not an accurate measuring unit. According to that paper, more people considered healthy from their BMI score point of view suffered from afflictions than those considered overweight.
Furthermore, it seems that the outdated measuring unit can cause a person a lot of difficulties when it comes to obtaining a health insurance. Most providers still use the system and make people considered overweight or obese pay more for their insurances than individuals who have a healthy body-weight ratio.
Unfortunately, BMI is used to label people. And when it comes to labeling in high-school, things can go pretty wrong. Children, especially teenagers, are mean, and a homework that asks them to label themselves as obese or overweight can cause a lot of damage to their image when it comes to high school social interactions.
Previous studies have shown that students who suffer from a stigma are more prone to depression and suicidal thoughts than those who feel at ease in their bodies. So making a high-schooler write about the fact that he or she is obese and the health risks that this label implies can damage their self-esteem.
Luckily, the softball player chose to stand up for herself and her fellow students and write about the dangers of BMI labeling. Her BMI homework went viral after her mother posted the paper on Facebook.
Image source: Wikimedia