Israel bans too-skinny models

The country uses body mass index to determine who's too thin. The US is unlikely to follow the example.

By Aimee Picchi Jan 3, 2013 3:08PM

Image: Portrait of a young woman leaning against a car-- RubberBall / SuperStock/SuperStockIsrael's lawmakers have set an unusual New Year's resolution: a ban on too-skinny models. 

The law, which went into effect on Tuesday, effectively bars models with a body mass index of less than 18.5, reports The Wall Street Journal. People with a BMI below that number -- or women who are 5 feet 9 inches tall but weigh less than 124 pounds -- are considered too thin, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The fashion and advertising industries have come under fire for years for their reliance on skinny models, with some criticizing an unrealistic portrayal of beauty. 

The average American woman is 5 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 166 pounds (a BMI of 29.4, considered overweight), according to statistics from the CDC. That's a hefty jump from size of the average U.S. model, who measures 5 feet 11 inches and weighs 117 pounds (an underweight BMI of 16.3), according to a report from Rader Programs, which offers programs for sufferers of eating disorders.

"Adolescents often feel fatally flawed if their weight, hips, and breasts don’t match up to those of models and actors," according to the Rader report. 

Supporters of the Israel law are hopeful it will encourage the use of healthier-looking models, according to the Journal. While Israel isn't the first to try to regulate models' weight -- the Milan Fashion Week banned overly thin models in 2006 -- it's typically tough to enforce. The Milan fashion show made headlines just a few years after the ban, when a "skeletal model" took to the runway.

The US. fashion industry indicated it's not likely to follow Israel's lead. The Council of Fashion Designers of America told the Journal on Tuesday that it would continue to recommend guidelines for healthy eating and fitness. "We never had an approach of mandate or enforce," he said. "We create awareness and education."

While that might strike some as a bit toothless, some in the fashion industry have advocated for more realistic depictions, with the editor of British Vogue asking designers to increase sample sizes. Unfortunately, even "big" models are getting thinner: Plus-sized models now average between size 6 and 14, while a decade ago most were in the size 12 to 18 range, according to Rader.

The irony might be that "plus" sized models could depict the healthiest lifestyle, with a new report from U.S. government finding that plump people may actually have a lower risk of dying than those at an idea weight. 

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Jan 3, 2013 4:29PM
Yeah that car is really sweet....And the girl standing next to it is okay too...
Jan 3, 2013 3:26PM
You have to be shidting me...Look at that cute little thing..
Jan 3, 2013 4:17PM
Some models do take weight lose to the extreme.  Add that goofy model walk and it gets scarey.
Jan 3, 2013 5:15PM
Jan 3, 2013 4:42PM
"" (by the way, it is spelled "Retard"), would you please turn off your computer and leave the comments section to people who have something meaningful to contribute?  I have seen your name in numerous comments sections and in each you make inflammatory remarks without any actual coherent thought.  I am beginning to suspect that you are some idiotic 20 year old high school dropout living in his parent's basement. 
With that little bit of housekeeping out of the way...  Banning and/or mandating model sizes under the belief that it will improve the self-esteem of young people is unsupported by serious scientific study.  Modern western culture (and this would include Israel) will continue to champion the perfect body look with or without the help of mainstream fashion. 
Jan 3, 2013 6:15PM
And it is too bad we can't see the Hubcaps..........Baroooommm !!
Jan 3, 2013 6:12PM

BTW.....Aunt Tony.....It is spelled Re-TOG......Sorry about your comprehension skills...


Most readers would only consider this Article a cruel joke, with a cute blonde to lure you in..


And Really, you really have "something meaningful to contribute"....Hmmmmm.

I guess I have to assume you are a FATTY, or have serious issues, with what others look like compared to yourself....Too bad about your self esteem...Well, not really. 


Guess you should worry about keeping your own house clean, ours is fine.

And we don't get all hung up on how others look..

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