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Israel Bans Underweight Models

posted 12:04 AM EST, Wed March 21, 2012
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Models with a BMI score of under 18.5 need no longer apply for fashion work in Israel.

Hoping to reduce eating disorder incidence rates, lawmakers in Tel Aviv have banned the use of underweight fashion models.

In Israel, if you want to model professionally, you need to have a doctor’s note proving your BMI score of 18.5 or greater.

Additionally, advertisers who touch-up model photos to enhance a slender appearance must admit to their photoshopping - in writing - on the advert.

Experts claim that unnaturally thin models contribute to body image pressure and drive up eating disorder incidence rates; which are estimated at about 2% of the general population in Israel.

Commenting on a bill he has helped promote, Israeli fashion photographer noted, "I look (back) 15 to 20 years ago, we shot models (sized) 38. Today it's 24.  It is the difference between thin and too thin. This is the difference between death and life."

Critics of the new law, however, say the BMI score cut-off may penalize naturally thin but otherwise very healthy models, such as Israeli supermodel Adi Neumman who has complained that her BMI score of 18.3 no longer qualifies her to work in Israel, even though she eats healthily and exercises.

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Story Highlights
  • Israel Bans Underweight Models: Unless your BMI score exceeds 18.5 you won't be modelling professionally in Israel
  • Very Thin Fashion Models Contribute to Body Image Problems: Experts say that idealizing very thin women leads to body image pressure and eating disorders
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