Urge Magazine to Change ‘Healthy’ Definition

Target: Ann Shoket (editor-in-chief of Seventeen magazine)

Goal: Urge Seventeen magazine to correct their BMI range and definition of ‘healthy’

With their excessive photoshopping and emaciated models, most magazines portray an unhealthy image for teenagers and young adults, especially females. In relation to body mass index (BMI) (calculated by a person’s weight and height), Seventeen magazine’s definition of ‘healthy’ is grotesquely skewed. Please urge Seventeen magazine to readjust the BMI range for ‘healthy.’

The standard ‘healthy’ BMI range is considered to be 18.5-25. Someone with a BMI under 17.5 is normally diagnosed with anorexia nervosa. These eating disorders cause the highest mortality rate out of all mental illnesses. And unfortunately, more than eight million Americans suffer from these disorders. Shockingly, 95% of the people with eating disorders are 12 to 25 years old. This age range is the target audience for magazines such as Seventeen.

Appallingly, Seventeen magazine claims that a BMI of 14.8 is a ‘healthy’ range for 16 year olds. However, this is severely underweight. When looking at the age range from 12 to 18 years old, the magazine’s BMI scale does not even go over 22.6, which is considered ‘healthy’ by most doctors.

Teenagers and young adults are constantly bombarded by unrealistic images of ‘beauty.’ Magazines like Seventeen have a great platform to influence impressionable readers. They should empower these girls and make them realize that, just like the colors of a rainbow, beauty truly does come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Please implore Seventeen magazine to redefine their BMI scale so that their millions of readers will not be misinformed and misguided into unhealthy, and dangerous, eating habits.


Dear Ann Shoket:

Seventeen magazine is a wonderful platform for you and your staff to provide educational and empowering information for young girls. Unfortunately, the ‘healthy’ range you provide in your magazine for BMI is incorrect. Not only is it incorrect but it may lead teenagers and young adults to believe that they need to lose further weight to be in the ‘healthy’ range that you provide in your magazine.

The standard ‘healthy’ BMI range is considered to be 18.5-25, with anyone under 17.5 being considered ‘anorexic.’ Your magazine, however, categorizes 14.8 as a ‘healthy’ range and your BMI scale does not go over 22.6, which is actually considered healthy by most doctors. Eating disorders have plagued our young girls for decades now, especially with external stimuli, such as magazines, that send out a convoluted and unrealistic message of ‘beauty.’ Eight million Americans suffer from these eating disorders, which have the highest morality rate out of all mental illnesses. And 95% of this population is from the ages of 12 to 25 – the age group of your target audience. Please correct your BMI ‘healthy’ range so that these young girls do not develop a distorted, and unhealthy, image of their already fabulous selves.

[Your Name Here]

Photocredit: Joe Shlabotnik via Flickr

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