A story on the radio today caught my ear: Did you know that Israel is now the only country to insist that its models follow strict weight guidelines? A law has been passed in Israel banning models who are too-skinny; anyone with a Body Mass Index (BMI) below 18.5 will not be permitted on the runway or in photo shoots and advertising campaigns. Wow! We hear about models starving themselves to manage the runway and of course, we see the images. And on the heels of New York Fashion Week, I find this exciting news and a move in a positive direction. Israel is using this indicator to combat eating disorders and promote a more healthy weight and lifestyle. In a quote from The Jerusalem Post, “every year, some 1,500 teenagers develop an eating disorder, and 5% of those suffering from anorexia die each year.”
This is a problem that affects all of us; not simply models on runways and in advertising campaigns, but young women and men everywhere trying to fit in to look a certain way as they sacrifice their health. And all the while society-at-large allowing it to happen. I have seen too many friends struggle with eating disorders. Hopefully this legislative stance taken by Israel will propel more countries to do the same and get us to re-think what we value most.
What do you think?