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August 16, 2008

Model medical exams won't prevent anorexia deaths


For awhile now governments and the fashion industry have been debating having routine medical exams (costing $500 each) to screen the fashion industry for underweight fashion models are have health problems due to obsessive dieting and anorexia.

The British Fashion Council has rejected the call for mandatory medical exams, stating that the average model is only paid $500 per appearance, so who is going to pay the bill? The models or the fashion show organizers?

There is also questions about whether medical exams would be effective, as models could easily put on weight to pass the medical exam and then lose weight soon after.

Pressure on the industry has intensified in recent years, particularly after models in Brazil and Uruguay collapsed and died from medical complications arising from their ultra-thin stature. 22 year old Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos collapsed soon after stepping off the runway in August 2006. Months later her 18-year-old sister Eliana (above right) also was found dead. Both died of anorexia-linked heart attacks.

Models who have suffered from anorexia in the past, such as Carre Otis, are also pushing for more controls on how younger models are selected. Obviously the industry is pushing for the thinnest models they can find, the so-called "clothes-hanger look" that effectively causes the clothes to fall loosely on the body.

But is having clothes fall loosely on the body really an effective mean of advertising? Does it not make more sense to have models with more curves and good looks than the "skeletons" currently walking down the catwalks?

Wouldn't the fashion industry be better off if they ditched the self-imposed anorexia and controversy? Or is the industry deliberately using controversy to sell their clothes on a hapless consumer culture?

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