As infants grow up their growth is compared to a chart that dictates whether or not the child is growing at a healthy pace. And a more or less similar chart is used in our adulthood where our height and weight are measured to determine if we are underweight, overweight or ‘just right.’
But growing up we have always heard about the inefficiencies of BMI (Body Mass Index) and now medical professionals are starting to speak out against these ‘ideal weight charts.’
Compound that with an ever-changing media landscape that dictates how we look at ourselves and others and this can create some serious social, physical and mental problems.
According to the Epidemiology of Eating Disorders, approximately 20 million women in the United States are medically diagnosed with an eating disorder.
An eating disorder can be defined as an unhealthy relationship with food. They involve constantly or consistently overeating or undereating.
Medical professionals are now saying that the height and weight charts for men and women are inaccurate because it simply looks at a person’s height versus a person’s weight.
The chart fails to recognize things such as body fat and muscle. Someone who is extremely muscular (ala a bodybuilder) would be registered as obese on the chart since it doesn’t take into account that the majority of the weight is due to muscle.
Furthermore, this chart insinuates that there is an ‘ideal weight’ for someone at a specific height. Moreover, the chart separates women into three ‘frames’: small, medium and large.
This is problematic because it doesn’t describe what a ‘small frame’ is and people come in all different shapes and sizes so three categories are simply inaccurate.
But things such as bone structure, metabolism, body fat percentage, activity level, and muscle all play a role in determining weight and health.
And doctors say that these charts can create more problems than solutions. It creates an unnatural perception of oneself and forms this idea that there is a ‘perfect body type.’
Combine that with mainstream media’s reluctance to celebrate weight gain and its longing for size triple zeroes, and one can see why women are dealing with eating disorders.
Mix that with an overabundance of fad diets these days and this can create some unhealthy relationships with food.
Human psychology dictates that the more we are told to restrict something then the more we will want to have it.
For instance, fads such as a low-carb diet will only leave people craving more carbs and this is the same with any other diet that significantly restricts one thing. So now, doctors are recommending judging one’s health on an individual level rather than based on an objective chart.