France Has Banned Excessively Thin Models

In an attempt to curb the prevalence of anorexia in the fashion industry, the government of France has passed a law that bans “any person whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is lower than levels proposed by health authorities and decreed by the ministers of health and labor” from working as a model. The law threatens a hefty fine and up to six months of jail time for any agency found using models with an unhealthily low BMI. Another recent bill cracks down on “thinspiration” websites, which encourage unhealthy habits in order to lose weight. Israel, Spain and Italy have also banned ultra-thin models, but some critics have questioned the methods of determining whether a model is unhealthily thin, pointing out that a low BMI is not always a sign of anorexia, and anorexics are not always unusually thin. But lawmakers in France and other countries that have passed similar legislation say they are hoping the ban will help encourage healthy body image …

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