Dear Friends and activists –
Many children and teens suffer from negative body image and eating disorders; eating disorders and negative body image issues are on the rise. Now there’s something that will make this worse—many states are now sending “weight grades” and BMI scores home on students’ report cards. Yes, we need our children be healthy--but this is not the way to do it!
Both of us authors have struggled with body image issues and disordered eating – Sarah is a recovered bulimic, and Cheryl used self-harm to cope. While we know that obesity is a problem in the United States, we are also very aware of the pressure that society puts on young girls to be thin, and how this has led to an increase in life-threatening eating disorders and negative body image issues. Eating disorders don’t discriminate on the basis of age, gender, race or class – no one is immune. It’s not just a “girl thing,” either. One in four people with eating disorders are male, and that number has been rising. Statistics show that young people are particularly vulnerable, which is why the idea of a “weight grade” is so horrifying.
Here’s some food for thought:
* Anorexia has the highest mortality rate among all psychological disorders.
* 10% of all eating disorders cases are children under the age of 10.
* The most common behavior that will lead to an eating disorder is dieting.
* 4 out of 10 Americans have either suffered or have known someone who has suffered from an eating disorder.
* One-half of 4th grade girls are on a diet.
* Among high school students, 44% of the females and 15% of the males are attempting to lose weight.
* Anorexia is the 3rd most common chronic illness among adolescents.
We think that putting “weight grades” and BMI on report cards is a serious mistake, and will lead to increased eating disorders, negative body image, low self-esteem, and increased bullying. Educating kids about healthy eating and exercise is a good thing. Grading them on their weight is not. Please join us in putting a stop to this misguided practice.
Yours in strength and health,
Cheryl Rainfield, author of SCARS and Sarah Darer Littman, author of PURGE
PS Please help us spread the word, by sharing this on Twitter, FaceBook, your blog, inviting friends to join--any way you can help. Thank you so very much!