Petitioning Seventeen Magazine

Correct their BMI calculator's definition of "healthy range".

Body mass index is defined as the individual's body mass divided by the square of his or her height.

Seventeen magazine states that a BMI of 14.8 is in the healthy range for 16-year old. By the normal standards, anything less than a BMI of 15 is considered very severely underweight. The normal "healthy weight" is actually 18.5-25. Within the 12-18 age range listed by the magazine, none of the BMI's go higher than 22.6.  

A BMI <17.5 being an informal criterion for the diagnosis of anorexia nervosa.

- Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental illness. 

- Eating disorders affect 8 million Americans.

- A study by the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders reported that 5 – 10% of anorexics die within 10 years after contracting the disease; 18-20% of anorexics will be dead after 20 years and only 30 – 40% ever fully recover. 

- 95% of those who have eating disorders are between the ages of 12 and 25.

This was first brought to my attention through Shirley Wang's Tumblr. Thanks to her post, I was able to be linked to Seventeen Magazine's BMI Calculator, and see the information posted for myself. I started the petition myself, but Shirley's initial post was the reason for my starting it. With everyone's help, we can get the word spread and get enough signatures to make this happen. Thank you to Shirley and everyone else making this possible!

Letter to
Seventeen Magazine
I'd like to start with a simple statement: The BMI Calculator on your website is inappropriate. After typing in my height and weight, I was brought to a page that indicated my BMI. Although I am 21, and the BMI "healthy ranges" for 20+ is correct, I immediately noticed the BMI's being targeted as "healthy" for teens. A BMI of 14.8 or 15.3 is incorrect and misleading for readers in the age category of 12-19. While I understand it is not your goal to promote eating disorders, this portion of your website certainly does just that. By leading a 17-year-old to believe that a BMI of 15 is healthy, you are telling them that being "very severely underweight" by normal standards is acceptable. The normal "healthy weight" is actually 18.5-25. A BMI of <17.5>s is unacceptable. 95% of people with an eating disorder are between the ages of 12 and 25. This means that your target audience is the most susceptible to suffering from an eating disorder. Your 17 Body Peace pledge was something that inspired me as a reader when I first heard of it. I signed, and vowed to work to love my body again. This BMI calculator is sending the opposite message to your readers. Please do something to fix this.

Lauren Stalnaker started this petition with a single signature, and won with 3,683 supporters. Start a petition to change something you care about.