Israel was the first country to take a concrete step forward in the global fight against eating disorders among youth largely influenced by the fashion industry.
At the beginning of 2013, a new law in Israel went into effect banning models with a BMI (body mass index) level below 18.5 from the catwalk as well as from photo shoots and advertising campaigns, the New York Daily News reported at the time.
BMI is based on a person’s weight measured against the height squared and is commonly used to define individuals as underweight, normal, overweight or obese.
Israeli authorities are using this method to prevent widely prevalent eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia, especially among youth, who are influenced by the fashion industry and often strive for physiques that are unattainable or unnatural for their body types.
The Israeli government joined a number of other organizations, including Milan Fashion Week, Vogue and the Council of Fashion Designers of America, in setting minimum BMI limits, the Daily News said. “However this is the first time that a country has set down legislation for a wholesale ban on what are viewed by some as unhealthily skinny models.”
In 2014, the first-ever exhibit of works created by Israelis in art-therapy treatment for eating disorders was on display in Tel Aviv. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” the exhibit featured 30 paintings, each accompanied by an explanation of the patient’s treatments and trials during their time at the Agam Institute for the treatment and rehabilitation of eating disorders.