France – Deputies in the National Assembly approved that fashion models who want to work in France will mandatorily need a doctor’s note that affirms they are healthy. Measures come since anorexia is being part of the new public health law developed in the country of fraternité where there are between 30,000 to 40,000 people suffering from the eating disorder.
Earlier in April, deputies at the National Assembly in France had announced a new legislation that would punish people who encouraged excessive thinness with a year in prison and a €10,000 fine. The decision was announced as part of the anti-anorexia package they proposed.
It was remarked that a new label that says “digitally altered” must be added to magazines and advertising that modify the image of models to make them look thinner or wider, also, the label must be added to altered images which highlight models with retouched skin and bodies.
The new measure seeks to protect people by promoting wellness and health. Models that fail to provide a medical certificate will be punished with six months in jail and a €75,000 fine, which is around $81,000.
Oliver Véran, a French neurologist and former deputy, said they were hoping that with the legislation they can put an end to what the British called “anorexia chic.” He stated it is not a war against slimness, but a war against malnutrition and the pressure that models are put under.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health from the United States, many people with anorexia see themselves as overweight even when they are clearly underweight. The Institute wrote in its official website, the eating disorder could cause thinning of the bones, brittle hair and nails, dry skin, mild anemia, brain damage and others.
The National Association of Anorexia and Associated Disorders wrote that almost 50 percent of people with eating disorders meet the criteria for depression and only one in 10 men and women with eating disorders receive treatment.
When looking at the phenomenon of eating disorders from a general view, the association declared that up to 30 million people of all ages and genders suffer from anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder in the U.S.
Hopefully, France measures will decrease eating disorders, especially among female teenagers, with the regulation of the modeling and fashion industries. Doctors will examine factors such as gender, age, diet history and menstrual patterns in order to determine if people are healthy and can have a safe modeling career.
“Once the law has been enacted and the implementation decrees have been issued, if we see a 5’11” model wearing size 6 clothes, there will be an evaluation,” he said. “If it turns out the model issued a false certificate, there will be sanctions.”
France is the first country to approve laws against excessive thinness. International models will also need the medical certificate to work in France. Dr. Véran said he was proud that the country had taken legal steps to regulate the modeling industry and he hopes other countries would follow suit.
“A lot of sociological research shows that if the people teenagers look up to are abnormally thin, this will impact their desire to lose weight. It’s an aggravating factor,” said Oliver Véran, the French neurologist and former deputy.