Saturday, 21 March 2015

Should underweight AND overweight models be banned?

So the issue of underweight models was back in the spotlight this week, with the French parliament debating and ultimately voting against a bill to ban models with a BMI less than 18. Body mass index (BMI) is a measure of relative size based on the mass and height of an individual. As you can see from the infographic below, less than 18.5 is considered underweight with 25 or higher overweight/obese.

BMI chart
This is an issue that isn't going to go away though. Already Spain, Italy, Israel, Chile and Belgium have regulated against extremely skinny models, and the French bill is now expected to be revised and debated again later this year.

However, being overweight actually seems to be a much more serious issue! For example, while less than 3% of American adults are underweight, over 60% are overweight or obese, a proportion that has been consistently increasing over time. Interestingly, mirroring this trend, plus-size modelling has also become more popular in recent times. The negative health consequences associated with being overweight are also extremely serious, particularly heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain types of cancer and osteoarthritis. As such, if there's a strong case to ban underweight models, the argument for banning overweight models too seems at least as compelling.

So what do you think? Should underweight and/or overweight models be banned, or is this none of our business?

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