An end to ads with thin models?

Knesset bill, initiated by Rachel Adatto and Danny Dannon, aims to protect impressionable teens from eating disorders.

May 17, 2011 02:47
1 minute read.
Nathalie Mathis, Adi Barkan, Aya Barazani

Models 311. (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)


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Fashion models who are too thin will no longer be able to serve as a physical ideal for young girls, who are in danger of developing eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia, if a bill prepared for its first reading in the Knesset is passed.

The bill, initiated by MKs Rachel Adatto and Danny Dannon, was approved unanimously by the Labor, Social Affairs and Health Committee on Monday. Last year, it passed on its preliminary reading.

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Eating disorders are on the rise in Israel, making them common among teens and those even younger – especially girls. The rate here is among the highest in the world, according to experts, who believe the media have a major impact on misleading youth about what is regarded as attractive.

Adatto estimates that 250,000 Israeli young people suffer from eating disorders.

According to the bill, no advertisements may be shown of models who have a body mass index (a correlation between height and weight) below 18.5. Normal weight runs between 20 and 24.9.

Adatto, chairman of the Knesset health lobby, said the fashion and advertising industries have built an improper image of beauty by presenting very thin models as “ideal women.” Additionally, Photo- Shop editing makes many already thin models appear even emaciated.

Not everyone present at the session was pleased by the bill. “There will be no more models if this is the standard,” argued “Yuli” Michael and David Yeshayahu of a modeling agency. They claimed that the demand for higher BMIs was “not realistic.

However, fashion-model agent Adi Barkan described modelling is a “sick industry.”

“Most of them eat 500 calories a day, and they are still told: ‘Reduce your backside.’ We will not export those who want to commit suicide,” he said.

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