8th Grader Writes Viral Essay Slamming BMI Tests, Is Wise Beyond Her Years

by Kate Spencer
An essay written by an 8th grader, criticizing BMI tests
Image via: MacLeodCartoons

Student’s school essay on bogus BMI tests is viral hit

Meet your new hero. She’s in 8th grade, smart as hell, and her wise words on the outdated stupidity of BMI testing has catapulted her to well deserved viral fame.

James MacLeod, a cartoonist and writer, shared a post on Facebook about this young woman – a family friend – who penned a scathing takedown of BMI testing after she was asked to calculate her own BMI on a school test and was labeled “obese.” He writes, “So proud of the family of one of my friends. Her daughter had to do a middle school project that involved body-mass-index. As a strong and muscled athlete, her BMI came out as ‘obese’. This was her daughter’s response. May we all raise strong girls and boys, willing to stand up for themselves and willing to stand up against the body-shape norms that persecute our children.”

(We’ll pause to let you clap, because AMEN, dude.)

He also shared pictures of the test, including the two BMI questions and her answers. The first asks, “What is BMI?” Our new queen writes, “BMI is an outdated way of determining a person’s body health, and it’s a measurement that should NOT be used in a school setting where students are already self-conscious and lacking confidence in their unique bodies.”

(Please rise for the standing ovation we are giving this girl.)

Image via: MacLeodCartoons

But she dishes even more truth on the second question, which asks students to calculate their own BMI, which is done by dividing a person’s height by their weight. She writes:

“Now, I’m not going to even open my laptop to calculate my BMI. And I’ll tell you why. Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a “bigger girl” and I’m completely fine with that; I’m strong and powerful. When you put a softball or a bat in my hand, they are considered lethal weapons. But, at the beginning of the year, I started having very bad thoughts when my body was brought into a conversation. I would wear four bras to try and cover up my back fat, and I would try to wrap ace bandages around my stomach so I would look skinnier.”

These are her experiences, but they sure do echo emotions and thoughts we’ve battled as a teenager — and adult. Struggling with body image and self-esteem is universal, and it stinks to go through, no matter your age. She continues:

“So my lovely mother did what any parent would do when they noticed something wrong with her child, she took me to my doctor. My doctor and I talked about my diet and how active I am. He did a couple of tests and told me I was fine. He said even 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.”

And then ends her essay with this:

“I am just beginning to love my body, like I should, and I’m not going to let some outdated calculated and a middle school gym teacher tell me I’m obese, because I’m not. My BMI is none of your concern because my body and BMI are perfect and beautiful just the way they are.”


This brilliant teenager is a role model for all of us, and her words are a great reminder that we are perfect and beautiful in our own ways, too.