Thursday, October 15, 2009

An Open Letter to Facebook

Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,

Today we were alerted to the presence of a quickly growing application titled, “How much should you weigh?” The application not only determines a user’s “acceptable” weight, but posts that information to the user’s page. While we understand this application is meant to be lighthearted, to a person struggling with body image and eating disorders, this can be a trigger to a downward spiral.

Eating disorders are a growing concern to men and women in the United States and all across the world. Applications like “How much should you weigh?” can cause those struggling with eating disorders to relapse into dangerous habits. One Facebook user told us that as someone recovering from an eating disorder she was vulnerable to this application, but was far enough down the path of recovery to pay it no attention.

ANAD takes a strong stance against evaluating a person’s “ideal” weight, even in the case of formal BMI testing. Since it is known that the concentration and layout of the body varies widely between ethnic groups, age groups, and especially genders, this is a measurement that is, by its definition, impossible to standardize. There is no test that can determine what one ought to weigh, just as there is no test that can determine who one ought to love, or how one ought to raise children. When an informal, unscientific application makes such claims, the effect can be injurious to anyone struggling with eating disorders. We ask you to remove this application as it promotes hazardous thinking and behavior concerning body image and eating.


Laura Discipio, LCSW
Executive Director
National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders (ANAD)

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