Israel Bans Underweight Models

On Monday, Israel passed a new law banning underweight models from appearing in local advertising. Under this law, models in Israel are now required to bring medical paperwork to photoshoots, that is no more than three months old, stating that the model is not malnourished by World Health Organization standards. The WHO uses the body-mass index calculation, dividing weight by height, to determine if a person is malnourished. The UN agency dictates that any person’s BMI 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. The bill also requires publications in Israel to disclose when they use altered images to make a model look thinner.

But are these standards going too far? Top Israeli model, Adi Neumman, thinks so. Her BMI is naturally 18.3, which disqualifies her from modeling in her home country. "Force actual tests. Make girls go to a doctor. Get a system to follow girls who are found to be puking," she said. Neumman says she eats well and exercises, and that she is just naturally skinny.

Adi Neumman on the cover of Vogue Greece

There are few guidelines in the world of modeling, where a size zero is basically considered necessary to make it to the runway. Madrid fashion shows ban women whose BMI is below 18 and Milan's fashion week bans models with a BMI below 18.5. But for the most part, the fashion and modeling industry is self regulated. The bill has good intentions. It hopes to reduce eating disorders among models, as well as promote a healthy body image for young girls viewing these models around the world. But I’m not sure it’s really the government’s responsibility to intervene on photoshoot requirements. If a magazine, photographer, or modeling agency wants to makes their own requirements regarding a model’s health, that is their own company’s decision. But the government installing their own requirements? Not so sure about that. I believe it is the company's responsibility that is employing the model to make sure the model is healthy enough to appear in an ad campaign. What do you think about this law? Is Israel right to ban underweight models? Will this help the fashion world and young girls around the world? Or is this big government making unnecessary decisions? Leave your thoughts on this new law in the comments. The Associate Press contributed to this article. [images via Langholz management & WHO]
Kayla  Muller
Number of Posts: 11

Find out more »
Do you have a Fashion story idea or tip? Email us at