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Has Hooters' Weight Obsession Gone Too Far? (Part One)

If you dine at the Hooters restaurant in Albuquerque, you probably don’t give much thought to the physical standards to which they hold their servers. Earlier this week, 20-year-old Cassandra Smith was called in for a performance evaluation at the Hooters location in Roseville, Michigan where she has been employed for the past two years. During the meeting, she was put on a weight-probation period because her uniform allegedly no longer fit properly.  Hooters management has offered her a free gym membership and 30 days to improve if she’s to keep her job.

Many people have dismissed the case on the grounds that women who go to work for a company like Hooters know what they’re getting themselves into.  Still, the incident does not put Hooters in a good light. To put the situation into perspective, Cassandra is just under 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs 132 pounds. According to the Metropolitan Life Tables, the ideal weight for a medium-framed woman at 5’8” could be anywhere from 136 to 150 pounds. It seems Hooters has gone beyond what women like Cassie thought they were signing up for.

According to standard calculators, Cassandra’s body mass index (BMI) is about 20.1. Allowing for some differences in bone structure and muscle weight, values between 18.5 and 24.9 are considered to normal. Cassandra is at the low end of the spectrum. Her BMI puts her in the 30th percentile in America for her age, meaning she weighs less than 70% of women her age. When surveyed about their self-image, women tend to say that they are most satisfied with their bodies at BMI values between 20 to 22. Clearly, there is nothing unhealthy or culturally undesirable about Cassie Smith’s body.

To be continued...

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