The letter of Tessa Embry, an eighth-grade girl, in response to a school assignment has gone viral on the internet and now she’s considered a positive promoter of body image.

The middle-schooler refused to calculate her Body Mass Index (BMI) for a school assignment and, instead of answering the exercise with a number, she gave the teacher a well-justified letter.

Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a simple measurement tool used to calculate height-to-weight ratio. Credit:
Body Mass Index, or BMI, is a simple measurement tool used to calculate height-to-weight ratio. Credit:

Today, her mother told to ABC News that Tessa plays softball year round, and her primary position is catcher. She referred to her daughter as strong and powerful. She added that she has a healthy diet and she is active.

This is the powerful letter written by Tessa Embry:

“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. 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 tests and told me I was fine. He said 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. I am just beginning to love my body, like I should, and I’m not going to let some outdated calculator and a middle school gym teacher tell me I’m obese, because I’m not.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.”

A piece of Tessa's letter. Photo credit: ABC News
A piece of Tessa’s letter. Photo credit: ABC News

Tessa Embry’s letter has a valid point

Today, Keith-Thomas Ayoob, a nutrition specialist and an associate clinical professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City told ABC News that he’s not a fan of measuring BMIs in school, and considers that there are better ways to promote healthy weights.

“BMI is a measure of weight based on your height. It doesn’t tell you about body composition,” Ayoob noted. “She’s correct but more information is necessary,” he added regarding Tessa’s letter.

The formula to calculating BMI is weight (kg) over height squared (m).

Source: ABC News