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Cheryl Tiegs is ok with Sports Illustrated glamorizing women who are too thin

Ashley Graham, a gorgeous woman and plus-sized model, is on one of the three Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Edition covers.

SPorts illustrated

Sports Illustrated


This is what Cheryl Tiegs, a former swimsuit model herself, had to say:

“I don’t like that we’re talking about full-figured women, because it’s glamorizing them, because your waist should be smaller than 35 (inches).”

and then

“That’s what Dr. Oz said, and I’m sticking to it.”

Tiegs is 5′ 10″ and apparently weighs 123 lbs (or maybe she did when she was modeling).  So Tiegs BMI is 17.6.

cheryl tiegs

The healthy range (since Tiegs is interested in health) is 19-24.

Like Tiegs I am also 5′ 10″, but I weigh 157 lbs. My BMI is 22.5  and I wear a size 8. This makes me plus-sized in the modeling world

This is me today.




For me to weigh what Tiegs weighs I would have to lose 34 lbs.

And yes, that would make me unhealthy. Very unhealthy.

Tiegs is right in one regard – magazines do glamorize unhealthy weights by promoting images of women that are unattainable without inducing starvation.

The Swimsuit Edition is supposed to be about celebrating beauty (or something like that), so what a refreshing change to see a magazine cover where beauty isn’t confined to an unhealthy size 0 or 2.

Over to you, Ms. Tiegs.



17 thoughts on “Cheryl Tiegs is ok with Sports Illustrated glamorizing women who are too thin

  1. “That’s what Dr. Oz said, and I’m sticking to it”?!


    Posted by Nightshade1972 | February 26, 2016, 2:06 pm
  2. I love that you shared this Jen – including a picture of yourself. Have teenagers and working with teens, I was so happy to see the cover of the swimsuit edition. We need more realistic role models and images to send a positive message about wellness.

    By the way, I was reading your about page, not sure if I had before, and saw that you attended UWO for some of your training. I proudly graduated from medical school there in 1998 🙂

    Thanks again for your excellent post!

    Posted by saratmd | February 26, 2016, 2:08 pm
  3. Great post. I wrote one on this topic also, but I like yours better 😛

    Posted by dori | February 26, 2016, 2:28 pm
  4. Reblogged this on Dead Wild Roses and commented:
    To the maintenance of unrealistic standards for women – thank you S.I. :/

    Posted by The Arbourist | February 27, 2016, 12:03 pm
  5. 5’10”! Wow! You stand tall (and healthy) Dr. Jen! 🙂

    Posted by elizabetcetera | February 27, 2016, 2:47 pm
  6. Can we get you on the cover of Sports Illustrated?

    Posted by SteveH | February 29, 2016, 8:07 am
  7. While you may be “Plus Size” in the modeling world and have a BMI of 22.5 (last I checked the definition of obesity is a BMI >30) you are far from sporting the obese body of the Sports Illustrated cover model. In fact I’d be willing to bet she is pushing her way to the morbidity obese category (BMI >40 or being 100 or more pounds overweight). For you to post that photo along with your body stats is misleading. It’s like you’re trying to say “look I’m just like her, I’m not fat” but oh contraire, miss Graham is overweight, obese and obesity is an illness in itself. With it she increases her chances of developing a whole slew of avoidable health consequences, you know this, you, like myself, are a healthcare professional and we have the responsibility to promote, encourage and model a healthy lifestyle.

    Posted by Doug | March 1, 2016, 5:09 pm
    • Ashley Graham is 5’10 and 165lbs that is a bmi of 23.7 not over weight bur firmly in the healthy range

      Posted by Tam | March 2, 2016, 3:50 pm
    • Knock it off, Doug. BMI is a crock; it’s antiquated, and nowhere near accurate. BMI can bite me. Also, without having actually examined this young woman, you can’t comment on her health in any meaningful way. She is not obese; she just apparently doesn’t fit into the tiny confines of your idea of what a woman should look like. Frankly, we don’t care.

      Posted by Gato | March 3, 2016, 7:17 am
  8. Sorry I misread her info she is 5’9″ so 24.4 still not overweight or obese

    Posted by Tam | March 2, 2016, 3:53 pm
  9. I am 5’9″ and 163lbs as of today. I wear a size 8 0r 10. I would also be considered a plus size model. I am not overweight or obese, just as the cover model is not.

    I agree that obesity can certainly have its health concerns, but so can being underweight.

    Posted by thescarlettside | March 4, 2016, 6:53 pm
  10. The health/BMI curve is a classic bathtub curve. The health risks don’t rise appreciably until around a BMI of 30, and at the low end of the BMI range the risks start to rise at around BMI of 19. Go read some of the real evidence rather than the propaganda if you don’t believe me.

    Posted by Jane Cobb | March 6, 2016, 1:10 pm
  11. Ashley Graham is 5’9″ with a weight of 201, giving her a BMI of 29.8, just under the obese range. Tiegs’ BMI was just over the line into the underweight range. So, if only weight and height are taken into account, they are equally “unhealthy”.
    I am against any standard of beauty that pressures women into being unhealthy, or normalizes unhealthy attitudes. So, no foot binding. No heroin chic. But also: let’s not rebrand obesity and overweight as “curvy” or “natural”. I look at Ashley Graham and wish she would lose a bit of weight, since she is very close to being obese. And obesity doesn’t look good on anyone.

    Posted by Mary Russell | March 14, 2016, 5:09 pm
  12. My BMI is a bit below 17. It’s always been very low, and I eat normally (more than average in fact – people who share a meal with me are always surprised!). I’ve never had nutritional deficiencies and I don’t have any known conditions that could explain my weight. Being underweight hasn’t negatively impacted my health. I’ve tried putting on weight but it has never worked.

    During these past few years, comments about underweight women being ugly, unhealthy and bad examples have been multiplying. Of course, it’s nowhere near as bad as what overweight or obese friends hear constantly, but it shows the rhetoric has yet to shift from an arbitrary social standard to actual well-being concerns.

    What we need is more diversity, not a new arbitrary norm everyone is expected to stick to.

    Posted by Louise | March 30, 2016, 6:47 am
  13. I am 5’9.5 . Had myself weighed today at the hospital. I asked not to be told my weight , but my b m i is 22.5. The nurse said it was perfect. But its not. I need to weigh around 135 to 137 lbs to feel healthy and at one with my size. I have masses of visceral fat around my mid section, which makes me short of breath, especially when bending. The nurse said I’m trying to be too thin, but I’m honestly not. I can’t afford liposuction, so how else can I get the fat off, apart from diet and exercise ?

    Posted by Saffron | May 11, 2016, 3:25 pm
  14. I’m surprised and disappointed that you of all people would perpetuate the misuse of BMI on an individual level. BMI was never meant to evaluate individuals. It was only meant to be used on a population level where false positives (high weight but low body fat) would theoretically balance out false negatives (low weight but high body fat). It was a simple way to determine the percent of obese people in a population, as defined by body fat.

    I had actually been hoping that you would do a post to explain the history and intent of BMI, but I guess not.

    Posted by Fern Lin-Healy | August 26, 2016, 12:42 pm

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