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Time For The Truth: Can "Plus Size" Women Actually Be Healthy?

March 01, 2016 3 min read

Ashley Graham has made history by being the first plus size model on the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. Unfortunately, not everyone is thrilled by this. Former Swimsuit Issue cover girl, Cheryl Tiegs, gave her two cents in an interview with E!. Tiegs said she wasn't happy that we are talking about full-figured women. She claimed this specific cover was "glamorizing" plus size women and explained,  "I don't think it's healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run." Naturally, these comments caused quite a stir which lead Tiegs to further clarify her statement in a tweet, saying, "To clarify re: bodyweight. Being anorexic/bulimic/overweight all connected to health problems. I want all to be as healthy as they can." (Want to be as healthy as you can? Clean up your diet with the BodyRock Meal Plan) Fair enough. These are not uncommon sorts of statements and they are not uncommon beliefs. At BodyRock, we see it all the time. When we first shared the story about Tiegs' statement, our comments section quickly filled with people speaking out in support, saying with absolute certainty that Graham, and all plus size women, are unhealthy. But is that really true? Does being plus size automatically make you unhealthy? According to  Michelle May, R.D. M.D., founder of Am I Hungry? Mindful Eating Programs and Training,  the answer is no. "I do not agree with Cheryl at all—she's completely innaccurate," says May, who believes that these sorts of statements can lead to weight bias, increased stigma, and judgement. [bctt tweet="Time For The Truth: Can "Plus Size" Women Actually Be Healthy?"] A study, recently published in the International Journal of Obesity, found that body mass index (BMI) is not reliable when it comes to measuring someone's health. The researchers, at the University of California --Los Angeles, found that 34.4 million Americans,who are considered overweight according to their BMI (25 to 29.9), are healthy and the same goes for 19.8 million who are considered obese (a BMI of 30 or higher).   The most significant finding was that 30 percent of people in the 'normal' BMI range were, in fact, unhealthy. This particular group often goes without having diseases diagnosed until it is too late because they believe they are healthy, says  Linda Bacon, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of California-Davis and author of Body Respect: What Conventional Health Books Get Wrong, Leave Out, and Just Plain Fail to Understand About Weight. When you see higher disease rates in overweight people, it can be because of other variables correlated to being overweight, not the weight itself. There is a strong correlation between weight and poverty, for example, and a strong correlation between poverty and poor healthy, explains Bacon. "What that tells us is that when we try to assess a person’s health simply by looking at them, we’re going to make major mistakes," says May. So there you have it! You cannot judge the state of someone's healthy simply by looking at the size of their body. We will say it again, being overweight does not automatically mean you are unhealthy, just as being thin does not automatically mean you are healthy. Are you convinced? Share your thoughts with us! Source: Women's Health

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