Jameela Jamil slams idea of weighing children

Jameela Jamil slams Jeremy Vine over debate on whether children should be WEIGHED at school – saying her own eating disorder started aged 12 after she was made to stand on the scales

  • Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show discussed National Obesity Forum’s  proposal
  • Group are campaigning to get children to be weighed when they return to school
  • Jameela said being weighed at school contributed to her teen eating disorder 
  • More than 15,000 people replied to the TV show’s tweet, many saying it was ‘dangerous’ and ‘could encourage eating disorders’

Jameela Jamil has joined the legions of people slamming the idea of weighing children when they return to school, suggesting it could lead to eating disorders.

The British-born actress and model,  34, was replying to a tweet by the Jeremy Vine show who had a call-in to debate the subject.

Yesterday’s episode of the Channel 5 show, hosted by Anne Diamond, discussed the the National Obesity Forum call to have all school children weighed when returning to class in September, and then again in spring to encourage them to lose weight they may have put on in lockdown.  

More than 15,000 people replied to the tweet, many saying it was ‘dangerous’ and ‘could encourage eating disorders’.

‘Should schools weigh pupils to make sure they shift the pounds they’ve put on during the lockdown? 

‘Health experts want two weigh-ins in September and then in the spring to keep kids on track. But could this just create a generation of calorie counters?’ the tweet read.

Jameela Jamil has joined the legions of people slamming the idea of weighing children when they return to school, suggesting it could lead to eating disorders. She is pictured in 2020 at the Grammy’s in LA

‘Hard pass. Being weighed at school was truly the minute my eating disorder started at 12. 

‘I can trace it back to that exact day. Understand that size is not an indicator of health and just teach children about nutrition, make exercise fun and stop serving them dogs**t at lunch,’ Jameela wrote.

In another tweet replying to a fan she wrote:  ‘I was heaviest in the whole year. So my name and weight was put at the TOP of a board in class.

‘See also: The BMI can f**k off too,’ she added.

BMI is used by many medics to show if people are a healthy weight for their height, but it’s controversial because it doesn’t account for weight which is held in muscle, meaning world-class healthy athletes are recorded as ‘obese’.

Many experts have criticised this fairly limited measure of the health of weight, yet it still remains the most popular way for most people to judge a healthy weight, and is used by the NHS.

Yesterday’s episode of the Jeremy Vine’s Channel 5 show, hosted by Anne Diamond, discussed the the National Obesity Forum call to have all school children weighed when returning to class in September, and then again in spring to encourage them to lose weight they may have put on in lockdown. Jeremy is pictured on a previous episode

The British-born actress and model, 34, was replying to a tweet by the Jeremy Vine show who had a call-in to debate the subject. Yesterday’s episode of the Channel 5 show, hosted by Anne Diamond, discussed the the National Obesity Forum call to have all school children weighed when returning to class in September, and then again in spring to encourage them to lose weight they may have put on in lockdown

WHAT IS BMI, HOW DO YOU CALCULATE IT AND WHY IS IT CONTROVERSIAL? 

Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of body fat based on your weight in relation to your height.

Standard Formula:

BMI = (weight in pounds / (height in inches x height in inches)) x 703

 Metric Formula:

BMI = (weight in kilograms / (height in meters x height in meters))

Measurements:

 Under 18.5: Underweight

18.5 – 24.9: Healthy

 25 – 29.9: Overweight

30 or greater: Obese

Why is it controversial?  

BMI takes into account natural variations in body shape, giving a healthy weight range for a particular height.

Muscle is much denser than fat, so very muscular people, such as heavyweight boxers, weight trainers and athletes, may be a healthy weight even though their BMI is classed as obese. 

Many experts have criticised this fairly limited measure of the health of our weight, yet it still remains the most popular way for most people to judge a healthy weight. 

Because BMI only considers height and weight, it overlooks these factors. 

Many nutritionists now argue that body fat percentage and body composition are a better sign of health that the figure on the scales. 

On the show columnist Ash Sarkar and former Brexit Party MEP Martin Daubney – neither of whom have expertise in health or education – appeared in the London studio and discussed children returning to school after lockdown, and obesity. 

Daubney argued for the proposal, saying many parents will ignore their children’s weight.

‘I am in favour of this. I have two kids, both of which were weighed. My boy is tall and big-boned and came in as obese. He doesn’t look it.  

‘It is a potential oversight of this but actually as myself and my partner who is a TA, so she works in this environment. 

Many agreed with Jameela and Sarkar’s comments, saying it could be damaging to children’s mental health

‘You know one-third of kids are now starting secondary school obese as reports say, now that is a problem.

‘And we have to accept now that obesity kills more than smoking in the UK. We worry more about feelings over facts,’ he added. 

Sarkar disagreed, arguing: ‘It didn’t make your kids feel shamed and that’s great but I have spoken about it before, but I have a difficult relationship with body image, weighing myself a lot, having a sense that people were looking at me and judging me a lot. 

‘It gave me such, not just a bad relationship with food but terrible relationship to exercise. What I am saying is that these things can be counter-productive.’ 

Many agreed with Jameela and Sarkar’s comments, saying it could be damaging to children’s mental health.

It is not the first time that Jameela has spoken out about her eating disorder and body image struggles. Speaking last year about starring on the cover of British Vogue’s September issue, which was guest-edited by Meghan Markle, Jameela said she would ‘starve herself’ as a child

Beat, the eating disorder charity, tweeted: ‘It is vital that children are not shamed into losing weight in an attempt to solve this,’ adding that young people should learn about public health not public shaming.

‘If you’re worried about a pupil or a loved one, please use our guidance on spotting the signs of an eating disorder and get help as soon as possible,’ they added.

‘Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric disorder,’ said another.

‘Exercise & education, to kids and parents. This is absurd, dangerous and reckless and the consequences are vast’ wrote one.

Many Twitter users said the idea is dangerous for children, and could be detrimental to their mental health

Vlogger Carrie Rose Fletcher added: ‘Is giving children a complex about their weight which may lead to bullying from their peers, eating disorders and life long struggles with their bodies…a good idea? No. No it’s bloody not.

Another added: ‘Heath experts” would know how normal it is to gain weight during a pandemic (or any time), that gaining weight is okay and a persons weight isn’t tied to their health. 

‘They’d also know that kids doing mandatory weigh-ins would increase eating disorders x100. This is fatphobic as f**k 

It is not the first time that Jameela has spoken out about her eating disorder and body image struggles. 

Speaking last year about  starring on the cover of British Vogue’s September issue, which was guest-edited by Meghan Markle, Jameela told Today: ‘I remember being a teenage model when I was 15 starving myself thinking that would bring me success or something like a cover of Vogue,’ 

‘And it’s so amazing to find myself, 20 years later, and 30lbs. heavier, actually being on the cover.’ 

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