Editorial: Size does not equal health


Lizzo, pictured above, is a famous musician who promotes body positivity. The ISD Editorial Board discusses body positivity and argues that size does not equal health. 

Editorial Board

Lizzo, famous for her music, uses her platform to advocate for normalizing all body shapes and sizes, regardless of society’s standards. She said in an interview with Vogue, “I think it’s lazy for me to just say I’m body positive at this point … I would like to be body normative. I want to normalize my body … being fat is normal.” 

Before diving into this topic, it’s important to define BMI and understand that it is not indicative of good or bad health. Body Mass Index measures a person’s weight in kilograms divided by their height in square meters. This number then labels you as underweight, healthy weight, overweight or obese.

However, study after study has shown several flaws in BMI, such as its outdatedness and inability to take into account muscle and bone mass, as well as its tendency to exaggerate outcomes for tall and short people. While easy to measure, BMI cannot accurately measure the weight classification of a person.

For example, a 6-foot-tall football player weighing 250 pounds would have a BMI equal to a 6-foot-tall person who has a low activity level, weighing 250 pounds. Both of these individuals are obese, according to BMI, which points out the obvious flaw in this medical measurement: health cannot be based on size alone

Small does not mean healthy, and large does not mean unhealthy. People of all shapes and sizes deserve to feel comfortable in their own skin, and it is not the responsibility of others, especially strangers, to comment about weight, size or health. 

People who are overweight are not “glorifying” anything when they post about body positivity. They are just being people. To shame one’s body because it makes you uncomfortable is reflective of your inability to accept others as well as poor education on the topic of health. 

We cannot, as a society, continue to target people who are plus size. People who are skinny are seen as healthy because beauty standards have labeled them as such when, in fact, beauty standards have been known to cause harmful health effects

When a person who is skinny eats junk food, people do not comment that they are promoting unhealthy habits. This is because it is not about promoting healthy or unhealthy lifestyles, it’s about people’s sizeism.

Conversations about body size and health can be difficult and complicated. It’s understandable that healthy habits are desirable over unhealthy lifestyles. However, the bottom line is that size is not equivalent to health, and it is not your place to comment on others’ bodies.