As reported last week, shortly after the Paris Fashion Week, a new law is up for debate in France's Parliament that would ban models with a BMI under 18 from walking in runway shows or appearing in magazine fashion spreads. The law would require models to present medical certificates to their agencies proving a BMI of at least 18 (a woman at 5'7" and 114 pounds would just make the cut). Regular weight checks are to be enforced, and fines could run up to $80,000.
If approved, France would join Israel in taking a stand against underweight models: Isreal instated a law in 2012 barring models with a BMI less than 18.5 from advertisements and requiring publications to disclose when models were retouched to appear thinner.
Spain and Italy have also made strides towards decreasing their use of too-skinny models, as the Madrid Fashion Show bans women whose BMIs are below 18, while Milan's Fashion Week bans models with BMIs below 18.5.
David L. Katz, M.D., director of the Prevention Research Center at the Yale University School of Medicine says, although there has been some debate as to whether BMI is really the best measure of health, but it could be one of the most consistent ways to determine models' health because it takes into account both weight and height.
Although, it's also naïve to think that this measure will cure the problem of anorexia in the fashion industry, Katz argues.
Obviously, this is great news for an industry that many believe has negatively influenced the cultural standards of weight, often leading to eating disorders.