Tessa Embry, eighth grader and all-around badass, wasn't having it when a school test asked her about Body Mass Index, or BMI -- a measure of body fat based on height and weight. People whose BMI is greater than 25 are considered overweight, while a BMI over 30 indicates obesity.
But there's one big problem with BMI. The calculations don't take into account how much muscle you have, and Embry had no problem calling out this oversight in her answer to the question below.
"Let’s say there is a fairly athletic woman who maintains a decent diet, she’s five feet, six inches, and she weighs 190 pounds, but 80% of her body is muscle," Tessa wrote in her response. "That doesn’t matter when calculating BMI! This woman’s BMI would be 30.7, and she would be labeled obese. Does that make sense to you? Because it sure doesn’t make sense to me."
"Now, I'm not going to even open my laptop to calculate my BMI," she continued. "Ever since I can remember, I've been a 'bigger girl,' and I'm completely fine with that; I'm strong and powerful. But, at the beginning of the year, I started having very bad thoughts when my body was brought into a conversation. ... [My doctor] did a couple tests and told me I was fine. He said though I’m a bit overweight, he’s not going to worry about me based on how healthy I am. So this is where I don’t calculate my BMI because my doctor, a man who went to college for eight years studying children’s health, told me my height and weight are right on track."
"My BMI is none of your concern because my body and BMI are perfect and beautiful just the way they are," she concluded. 👏
Tessa's intelligent response nails exactly why BMI isn't the most accurate assessment of health. We can't even decide which part is the best -- her spot-on definition of the "outdated" BMI measure or her personal experience struggling with body image. Also, can we talk about how well-written this answer is? Tessa could turn this essay into her English teacher for an A+.
Mindi Embry, Tessa's mom, told BuzzFeed News she was thrilled by her daughter's reaction: "These students already know where they fit in with everyone else. They know what sizes the department stores keep downstairs and the ones they keep upstairs. This is like pouring salt in the wound. Especially for someone like my daughter who is bigger, but is strong, active, eats well, and has received a clean bill of health from her pediatrician."
Keep doing you, Tessa. You're KILLIN' it.