BMI Issues Gains Weight in Israel But Not the United States – The BMI index is gaining weight under a new law in Israel which takes effect from 1 January and reduces the risk of models losing weight and their health in order to keep shape for the catwalk.

However there is unlikely to be any such law passed any time soon in the US congress, despite a growing international awareness of the heightened risks of having skinny models who in turn influence other young girls to lose weight and often their health and even their lives.

ABC News reports that Israeli lawmakers adopted the legislation in March 2012 stipulating that fashion and commercial models should have a body-mass index of at least 18.5. A 5-foot-8 adult weighing 120 pounds, for instance, has a BMI of 18.2, disqualifying her — or him — from pursuing a modeling career in this country of nearly 8 million people.

It is also called the “Photoshop law” because it demands that computer-generated changes to make models appear thinner be noted along with the images. Although the law targets adults in general, it is clearly aimed at female models. Eating disorders mostly affect young women.

Images of thin fashion models are not the only factors contributing to eating disorders, but one doctor specializing in treating them says they do nothing to help her patients get better.

Dr. Adi Enoch-Levy, a psychiatrist who treats people with eating disorders at the Safra children’s hospital in Tel Aviv, cites the perception that “thin is beautiful” and its influence on impressionable young females.

“It is a known fact that there is a genetically inherited cause to eating disorders,” Enoch-Levy said. “In spite of that, observations show that eating disorders have spiked in number together with the exposure to the modern media, the same media which brings to many homes the fashion shows and commercials.

“It is also a fact that mainly anorexia cases have appeared in societies not previously exposed to images of the ‘ideal physique.'”

The issue of BMI in terms of young ladies losing weight is one that will continue to exercise the minds of both lawmakers as well as model agency owners for some time to come.

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