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France Bans Underweight Models

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A law banning the use of unhealthily thin fashion models has come into effect in France.

According to the new law, models will need to provide a medical certificate attesting to their overall physical health, with special regard to their body mass index (BMI).

BMI is a measure of weight in relation to height.

France’s health ministry says the aim is to fight eating disorders and inaccessible ideals of beauty.

Image source Wikimedia

Digitally altered photos will also have to be labeled from October 1.

Images where a model’s appearance has been manipulated will need to be marked photographie retouchée (English: retouched photograph).

A previous version of the bill had suggested a minimum BMI for models, prompting protests from modeling agencies in France.

However, the final version, backed by lawmakers in 2015, allows doctors to decide whether a model is too thin by taking into account their weight, age, and body shape.


Employers breaking the law could face fines of up to 75,000 euros ($82,000) and up to six months in jail.

France is not the first country to legislate on underweight models – Italy, Spain and Israel have all done so.

Anorexia affects between 30,000 to 40,000 people in France, 90% of whom are women.