Too skinny

Kudos to the French for outlawing emaciated models. Zombie models grace the pages of fashion magazines. Young women accept them as the standard of beauty and try to emulate them. Anorexics starve themselves down to skin and bones and beyond. Bulimics binge eat everything in sight, and then throw it all back up. Either approach yields the same result: a frail, skeletal bodyfamine personified. Malnutrition arrests physical and mental development. The diseases of malnutrition wrack body and mind. Advertisements are seducing young women into unhealthy lifestyles.

Fashion magazines wont act responsibly, so the French government has set standards. French fashion models will still be slender and attractive. The sickly scrawny ones wont be there to dupe young women. Models will have to have a body mass index (BMI) of at least 18.

The BMI is a convenient indicator of body fat. It recognizes that tall people should weigh more than short people. That might suggest that everyones weight should be proportional to his or her height. Its not that simple, though. Taller people tend to be wider too. Height squared or cubed would be more appropriate. The right answer is in there somewhere; its closer to squared. BMI is weight divided by height squared. The index was developed in Europe, so its in kilograms and meters. For English pounds and inches, multiply by 703.

BMI = 703 * weight (pounds) / height (inches) **2

Whats your number? If its under18, your modeling career is over. Treat yourself to something tasty from The Champagne Taste/Beer Budget Cookbook tonight. If its over 30, you are setting yourself for another set of health problems including type II diabetes and heart attack. Consult a nutritionist or a physician. If youre around 25, youre doing well. Keep enjoying healthy eating from the cookbook.

These are rough numbers. Health standards vary with age, gender, and other conditions. As always, consult with your physician about your particular circumstances. Eat tasty and healthy.