Unhealthy weight?

Commenting on an earlier post, living400lbs asked:

…so, are you thinking that a BMI of 14 or 16 isn’t an “unhealthy weight”?

(I tried to reply in the blog’s dashboard but it didn’t work.  Good luck, I guess, because the response makes a decent post of its own.)  Anyway, I wasn’t saying that, just saying that “healthy weight” isn’t a useful concept.  If someone is that thin and is also unhealthy, even if the low weight is causing health problems, something else is causing the low weight, be it illness, disorder, or just an unhappy circumstance that needs to be corrected. 

Example: When I was at my current height of 6′ and weighed 140 lb, I was thin because I was (temporarily) poor; when that was corrected, the weight came back.  (That was many years ago, when I was in college.  I didn’t get fat until I was middle-aged.)

My own experience of being thin is probably not typical, at least in the US.  And I’m wary of sounding off on the health issues of the very thin, an area I haven’t researched.  But, let’s say a person has anorexia nervosa and has become very thin and has health issues as a result.  Would telling that person that s/he has an “unhealthy weight” help that person?

PS: I know that, statistically, people with BMIs of 25 to 29 (“overweight”, what I would call chubby) live the longest.  But I also know that individuals outside this range (both fat and thin) can live long, so that’s another reason not to label a particular weight as unhealthy.


One thought on “Unhealthy weight?

  1. I have to agree with you. It does seem that, when you get down to it, there are more people of very low BMIs who have serious, often fatal health problems, but certainly there are naturally very thin people who are healthy, just as there are very fat people who are healthy. BMI is totally meaningless in any case, so I do really hate the term ‘healthy weight’, but mostly I hate it because virtually everyone I know who uses it is using it to suggest that if you just resolve your psychological issues & overcome eating disorders & learn to eat ‘healthy’, not binge, eat compulsively, or whatever the hell else most people assume most fat people do, & exercise regularly (even if the person being addressed already exercises & even if said person battles exercise bulimia), your body will find its ‘healthy weight’, which as far as I can see, is almost always assumed to be a weight LOWER than it currently is. Because I have encountered these behaviors in people using the term ‘healthy weight’ so often, I am very suspicious & distrustful of anyone who does. And the fact that I was, at 28, labeled ‘obese’ at 5’6″, 156 pounds leads me to believe that most people, including those somehow employed in the health/nutrition business & bearing several college degrees, still carry unreasonable views of what size normal people are supposed to be & often don’t have a damn clue as to what they are talking about.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s