Now Banned in Israel: Underweight Models

Models with a BMI below 18.5 can't be used in photo shoots
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2012 3:19 PM CDT
Now Banned in Israel: Underweight Models
An Israeli walks past an advertising displayed on a main street in Tel Aviv, Israel, on Monday, March 19, 2012.   (Oded Balilty)

In a bid to fight the spread of eating disorders, Israel has banned underweight models from local advertising and now requires publications to disclose when they use altered images to make models appear thinner. The law, passed yesterday, appears to be the first legislation of its kind by any government. The new law requires models to produce a medical report, dating back no more than three months, at every shoot that will be used on the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organization standards.

WHO says a body-mass index below 18.5 is indicative of malnutrition. According to that standard, a woman 5 feet 8 inches tall should weigh no less than 119 pounds. Critics say the legislation should have focused on health, not weight, saying many models were naturally very thin. It's not clear whether the law will have a measurable impact, because Israeli teens take their cues from both international media and local publications. And the ban isn't likely to affect many: There are only about 300 professional models in the country. (More Israel stories.)

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