Posted by on March 17, 2015 - 12:08pm

This month, the French government is considering a bill that would ban the use of ultra skinny models with a body mass index (BMI) below 18 on the runway or in photo shoots.  Modeling agencies and fashion houses who do not comply could be fined up to $79,000 and may have to serve jail time.   Italy, Spain and Italy already have similar laws in place.

As of today, this blogger could not find any similar legislation or regulations in the United States.   The Council of Fashion Designers in America has formed a "health initiative" to address this growing concern but it focuses on health education and awareness and does not have any real regulatory power.  In fact, the organization states that this in not a policy initiative and does not recommend that the industry require any medical exam to assess the health status of its models.    The fact that 10 out of 100 young women are diagnosed with an eating disorder does not seem to bear any weight on their decision. 

Why should we care what the fashion industry does?   According to the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Eating Disorders:

  • The body type portrayed in advertising as the ideal is possessed naturally by only 5% of American females.
  • 47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.
  • 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.
  • 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner 
  • 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat

As young people follow the trends for fashion and glamour on social media 24/7, isn't it time we step to the plate?


Posted by on April 12, 2011 - 9:02am

About 3 percent of U.S. adolescents are affected by an eating disorder, but most do not receive treatment for their specific eating condition, according to an  National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)-funded study published online ahead of print March 7, 2011, in the Archives of General Psychiatry.

Researchers analyzed data from the National Comorbidity Study-Adolescent Supplement , a nationally representative, face-to-face survey of more than 10,000 teens ages 13 to 18. Previously published results found that about 20 percent of youth are affected by a severe mental disorder, and a substantial proportion of these youth do not receive mental health care. In this new study, the authors tracked the prevalence of eating disorders and the proportion of those youth who received treatment for these disorders.

According to the data, 0.3 percent of youth have been affected by anorexia (fear of getting fat that causes you not to eat), 0.9 percent by bulimia (bouts of overeating followed by purging), and 1.6 percent by binge-eating disorder(out of control eating). The researchers also tracked the rate of some forms of eating disorders not otherwise specified (ED-NOS), a catch-all category of symptoms that do not meet full criteria for specific disorders but still impact a person’s life. ED-NOS is the most common eating disorder diagnosis. Overall, another 0.8 percent had subthreshold anorexia, and another 2.5 percent had symptoms of subthreshold binge-eating disorder.

In addition, Hispanics reported the highest rates of bulimia, while Whites reported the highest rates of anorexia.   The majority who had an eating disorder also met criteria for at least one other psychiatric disorder such as depression. Each eating disorder was associated with higher levels of suicidal thinking compared to those without an eating disorder.

The prevalence of these disorders and their association with coexisting disorders, role impairment, and suicidal thinking suggest that eating disorders represent a major public health concern. In addition, the significant rates of subthreshold eating conditions support the notion that eating disorders tend to exist along a spectrum and may be better recognized by doctors if they included a broader range of symptoms. In addition, the findings clearly underscore the need for better access to treatment specifically for eating disorders.