Just finished filming a segment for Access Hollywood (airing tomorrow night, 4/24 at 7:30PM on NBC) about the importance of being a healthy weight – NOT OVERLY THIN! Ostensibly, the story was about an Australian, 19-year old beauty queen who has a BMI is just 14.6 (at 5’11” she weighs in 105 lbs.) and whether she’s unhealthily thin. By any standards, this girl is clearly emaciated, and does not look normal or healthy. Interestingly, I did some research and discovered that she is far below the 18.5 BMI baseline for malnourishment set by the World Health Organization, the average BMI of Miss America beauty contestants over the past several years (19.5) and the average BMI of the 2002 USA Women’s World Championship Basketball team (22.9).
Clearly the time has come for the beauty and fashion world to follow the lead set by Spain in 2006, and prohibit models, beauty contestants and the fashion world from walking the catwalk or competing if their BMI is less than 18. Although this might not solve the problem of an unnatural ideal set by beauty pageants, it would go a long way towards helping women understand that being unnaturally thin, and over-exercising or under-eating to get there, is not the way to success, but the way to an eating disorder and possibly even death. In fact, the death rate among young women with anorexia has been estimated to be 12 times that of young women who do not have the disorder. As a former anorexic, nutrition expert and a certified wellness coach, it’s time to stop spreading the myth that being thin is being beautiful. We must encourage people to learn to make food a friend and live with it, as we humans cannot live without it.