France bans extremely thin models in a bid to clamp down on “unrealistic” body image

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Anna Pollitt
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France has banned extremely thin models from the catwalk in a bid to reduce eating disorders, promote healthy body image and protect women in the industry.

Doctors will assess the weight, age, and body shape of models, who will be required to carry a medical certificate displaying their Body Mass Index (BMI) and verifying their overall health.

The legislation has come into effect after two years in the making and follows similar rulings in Spain, Italy and Israel.

“Exposing young people to normative and unrealistic images of bodies leads to a sense of self-depreciation and poor self-esteem that can impact health-related behaviour,” said France's minister of social affairs and health, Marisol Touraine.

She continued: “These two texts aim to act on body image in society to avoid the promotion of inaccessible beauty ideals and to prevent anorexia in young people.

“The objective is also to protect the health of a sector of the population particularly at risk – models.”

Employers found to be breaking the law face up to six months in prison and a €75,000 (£64,000) fine.

Along with the rules on models’ weight, from October, magazines, website and advertisers must declare when images have been retouched or altered so consumers know whether what they are looking at is an accurate representation of reality. 

Anorexia affects an estimated 30,000 – 40,000 people in France, with 90% of these being young women.

The legislation means that half of the four major players in the twice-yearly Fashion Weeks have made tangible moves to clamp down on the promotion of unhealthy body images – now over to you, London and New York.

Images: Rex Features/ iStock


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Anna Pollitt

Anna is a freelance writer and editor who’s been making her dime from online since 2007. She’s a regular at, ITV News and Emerald Street and moonlights as a copywriter and digital content consultant.