A new study out of the University of Bologna suggests that using plus-size models on the catwalk and in advertisements could make women fat.
In their paper "Thinness and Obesity: A Model of Food Consumption, Health Concerns, and Social Pressure," Dr. Davide Dragone and Dr. Luca Savorelli cite the relationships between Italy, Germany and Spain and their respective fashion communities to produce more plus-sized clothes and uphold a minimum size for models. They write:
When reading the content of the agreements, it is clear that both the government and the fashion industry agree that fashion is a powerful trend-setter. It not only influences what clothes, styles and colors are trendy, but also determines how a person should appear to be desirable.
Okay, so fashion is apparently super-influential. Dragone and Savorelli add:
If people are underweight and stay on a diet, increasing the ideal body weight allows both aggregate welfare and health to be improved. If people are overweight and on a diet, however, increasing the ideal body weight can improve overall utility, but it worsens health because it induces people to become even more overweight.
And, "Given that in the US and in Europe people are on average overweight, we conclude that these policies, even when are welfare improving, may foster the obesity epidemic."
The pair also said, according to the Daily Mail, in plain language, "To promote chubby fashion models when obesity is one of the major problems of industrialised countries seems to be a paradox. Everyone has to trade off in life a number of things like the pleasure of eating and going to the gym or something as a cost. So if you just fix the average healthy weight then maybe you will throw up some incentives to be thin."
Um, so far, seeing plus-size models hasn't made us any bigger. And watching size zero models lurch down the catwalk hasn't made us any skinnier, either -- if anything it's made us simultaneously revolted and ravenous.
What do you think?
(Via Marie Claire UK)