A ban on the use of underweight models in local advertisements and publications has been imposed by Israel via a law passed in March. The new law, which will be applied at every photo shoot in Israel that will produce images to be used on the Israeli market, requires each fashion model to produce a recent medical report to prove that they are not malnourished. The report, which uses World Health Organization standards to determine malnourishment (as explained below), must not be more than ninety (90) days old at the time of the photo shoot. The law is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.
Additionally, the law requires companies to disclose if image-editing methods such as digital tools were used to make models appear thinner than they actually are. As defined by an unofficial translation of Law for Restricting Weight in the Modeling Industry, 5772-2012, Israeli Knesset, March 19, 2012, a clarification must be provided and shown in a conspicuous place and in an obvious color and size of the advertisement, if editing was used. This law will not, however, apply to foreign publications sold in Israel, prompting concern that the law will not have a measurable impact at all – Israeli teens often take their cues from international media in addition to local publications.
The World Health Organization utilizes the body mass index system, where a BMI below 18.5 indicates malnutrition in the UN agency’s scheme. According to this standard, a woman who is 5 foot 8 inches tall should not weigh less than 119 pounds. The World Health Organization explains BMI as a simple index of weight-for-height, commonly used to classify underweight, overweight, and obesity in adults. Continue reading