France's Law Banning Underweight Models Is Now In Effect

It's all about setting healthier standards.

In 2015, France passed a law that banned excessively thin fashion models. Two years later, that law is finally going into effect ― and it has a few additional concessions.

Fashion models in France will now need a doctor’s certificate to prove they are healthy. BBC reports that there will be a specific focus on a model’s Body Mass Index (BMI) ― a measure of body fat based on height and weight ― though that will no longer be the sole determinator of a model’s health after massive protests from the fashion industry. Agencies that allow models to work without proper health certificates face a fine of nearly $82,000 and up to six months in jail.

Additionally, any digitally-altered picture of a model must be labeled “retouched photograph,” according to BBC. This disclaimer will be required on photos beginning October 1.

The legislation is intended “to avoid the promotion of unattainable ideas of beauty and to prevent youth anorexia,” according to a statement from France’s health minister.

“Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behavior,” Marisol Touraine, France’s minister of social affairs and health, said on Friday via BBC.

Spain and Italy passed similar laws regarding excessively skinny models in 2006, when the two countries banned super-thin models from the catwalk based on BMI. In 2012, Israel banned super skinny models without a certificate of health, proving they have a BMI over 18.5 (anything under 18.5 is considered underweight, according to the World Health Organization).

If you’re struggling with an eating disorder, call the National Eating Disorder Association hotline at 1-800-931-2237.

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