For the first time in the history of Sports Illustrated's infamous swimsuit issue, a 'plus-sized' model is rocking the cover (worth noting: here's why model Ashley Graham has a problem with the 'plus-size' label).
But not everyone is happy about Ashley Graham's super sexy, full-figured debut. Former Sports Illustrated cover girl Cheryl Tiegs, who landed cover spots in the iconic issue several times during the '70s and '80s, spoke out to E! News this week saying, "I don't like that we're talking about full-figured women because it's glamorizing them." Um, ouch.
Tiegs defended herself, claiming her concerns are about health, not aesthetics. "I don't think it's healthy. Her face is beautiful. Beautiful. But I don't think it's healthy in the long run," she said.
First of all, Graham's body is just as smokin' as her face. And does Tiegs—who is not Graham's doctor, for the record—really have reason to be concerned about the model's health?
The answer is a lot more nuanced than Tieg's comments. One 2014 meta-analysis of 10 studies found that as long as you have solid levels of cardiorespiratory fitness, being overweight or obese doesn't necessarily up your risk of mortality. More recent research published in the European Heart Journal points out having healthy measures of blood sugar, blood pressure and triglycerides can outweigh the unhealthy effects of having a thicker waistline.
To be fair, lots of other research has indeed found a link between being overweight and having poor health. (You can read more about this topic in The Truth About Being Fat But Fit.) Ultimately, though, the issue is way more complicated than Tiegs (again, not a doctor!) would lead you to believe. We'll go ahead and say that these comments qualify more as body shaming than a genuine health concern. Don't let the haters stop you from doing your thang, Graham.