Indiana 8th Grader Gives Perfect Response for BMI Project

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An Indiana 8th-grader’s refusal to calculate and disclose information about her body for school is making headlines.

The unnamed girl was asked to define body mass index (BMI) and calculate her own. BMI is found by multiplying one’s weight by 703 and dividing by squared height in inches.

But instead of providing the number, she countered with a two-page essay. A “proud” family friend posted photographs of her work on Facebook.

The self-described “bigger girl” opens up about her own body image struggles, which recently involved trying “to wrap Ace bandages around my stomach so I’d look skinnier.” Her concerned parents took her to her doctor, “a man who went to college for eight years studying children’s health [and] told me my height and weight are right on track.”

She argues that BMI is an outdated index that has “absolutely no way of discriminating [between] fat and muscle.”

And she may be exactly right. A study published in Nature in March finds that almost half of people considered “overweight” through this measure actually have a healthy cardiometabolic profile calculated using such factors as blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar, while about a third of the “normal” BMI people had unhealthy profiles.

At the same time, a CDC study argues in favor of the measure’s usefulness, finding that an infant’s BMI at 6 to 18 months can predict those who are prone to obesity in early childhood.

The 8th grader concludes her test answer by writing that her BMI is “none of your concern because my body and BMI are perfect and beautiful just the way they are.”

Good for her!

This article originally appeared on Newser: 8th-Grader Refuses to Share Her ‘Perfect’ BMI

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