Sunday, March 25, 2012

Health Controversy: Israel Puts a Ban on Models That Are 'Too' Thin

The fashion industry has long been on blast for using models that appear too thin, too young, that appears unhealthy and promote an unrealistic body image. Israel is choosing to do something about this controversy.

Israel passed a law last Monday that requires models to have a body mass index (BMI, calculated by dividing height and weight) that is no less than 18.5. The World Health Organization states that a BMI below 18.5 is indicative of malnutrition. If their BMI is less than 18.5, they need to get a note from a doctor saying that they are not underweight or malnourished before they can be hired. This law also requires that advertisers must state if Photoshop or other programs were used to alter the image to make models look thinner. This law does not apply to foreign publications that are sold is Israel.

To put this in perspective, a six foot tall model with a BMI of 18.5 would weigh around 136.5 pounds. Or a 5 foot 8 model must weight no less than 119 pounds. According to the Daily Mail, this law would disqualify famous model Kate Moss who has a BMI of around 17.

This new law will require models to provide a medical report that states that they are not malnourished at every shoot that will be used on the Israeli market. This report must date back no more than three months.

Israeli lawmakers are trying to fight the spread of eating disorders. The fashion industry has long been accused of encouraging eating disorders and idealizing extreme thinness. Supporters hope that this law will encourage advertisers to use healthy models and to shine a light on the use of digital image enhancement that can make models body appear unrealistic.

"We want to break the illusion that the model we see is real," said Liad Gil-Har, assistant to the law sponsor Dr. Rachel Adato. Adato says "On the one hand, maybe we will hurt a few models. On the other hand, we will save a lot of children." She also says "You don't need to be underweight to be beautiful, or successful."

Critics of this law say that the legislation should be focused more on health and not weight. They say that models are naturally very thin.

What do you think about this? Is it a good or bad idea?

"Israel Trying to Ban Too-skinny Models in Ads; Law Would Require Doctor's OK That Model Is Not Malnourished ." NY Daily News. 20 Mar. 2012. Web. 25 Mar. 2012. <>.

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