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Super-thin models. Do they promote eating disorders in young women?


During fashion week in New York, London and Spain, international attention focused on the size and weight of the models, and whether stick thin models promote eating disorders in young girls.

Models around the world are under pressure in the fashion industry to be super thin. But this year, organizers of Spain's Fashion Week barred models who fell below World Health Organization standards for healthy weight. Leonor Perez Pita is the Director of Pasarela Cibeles, Fashion Week in Spain.

"I think we had arrived at a point, probably without consciously knowing, where the girls almost had such a thin look that made them look like a coat hanger, while a model, in order to be seen, can't be just a coat hanger with a skeletal look."

The U.S. National Eating Disorders Association applauded Spain's decision because it said fashion ads featuring ultra-thin models have a potentially life-threatening impact on girls and young women.

"Even though I think I am quite small, I still look at the diets because that's what's in there. And I look at should I be doing this? Should I not be doing this? Should I look like this? Should I be skinny? Should I be curvy?"

Even very young girls are getting the message that ultra-thin is in.

"Considering I have a granddaughter who thinks she's fat already, and this is my granddaughter, I think it is absolutely disgusting."

Some New York designers say they do not want super thin models on their runways. Designer Michael Kors is one.

"I like a curvy body. I like real women, you know? You know, my clothes have to translate to real life."

But Indian designer Manish Arora said it is all about business. Arora showed his collection during London's Fashion Week.

"What am I doing here? I am trying to sell my clothes, right? If I show it on weird bodies, people aren't going to buy it, the buyers are not going to buy it. It's very simple."

Super-thin is also in in the movie industry. Actor Andy Richter says, again, thin sells.

"The problem is, is that people look better on camera when they are skinny."

Although experts say some eating disorders may have genetic factors, the cultural environment where super-thin is equated to beauty has a huge influence on those who are prone to such disorders.

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