Yes, Americans, Israel has just followed in the footsteps of India and Italy by banning underweight models. No more being in ads or strutting the catwalks in these countries if you are underweight and thus a negative role model for our teens.
The Israeli parliament has recently passed a law which prohibits underweight men AND women from modeling. In fact, both sexes are required to have a BMI (Body Mass Index) of at least 18.5 in order to qualify for this occupation. A doctor's note needs to accompany those on their way to modeling jobs.
The law was apparently passed to help protect teens from developing body image disorders and eating disorders in a sometimes deadly attempt to emulate models. Having worked with many of these young people who have fallen into the abyss of eating disorders, I say, "Way to go Israel!"
I would like to know why we in the U.S.A. have not followed suit. Here in America, as teens get older they grow increasingly dissatisfied with their bodies. And clearly exposure to media, ads and emaciated and starving models is an important factor. According to a Harvard University study, by age 13 at least 50% of girls are unhappy with their appearance. By age 17 the number has gone up to 8 out of 10.
So, what are we waiting for? How many more teens and their families need to suffer before we too enact legislation that helps to protect our kids?