France fights anorexia - level 3

France fights anorexia - level 3

09-04-2015 15:00

France's lower house of parliament has passed a measure banning excessively thin fashion models and exposing the modelling agencies and fashion houses that hire them to possible fines and even jail.

The controversial bill was widely debated in the world's fashion capital with those against it, including the National Union of Modelling Agencies, arguing it would give foreign models an advantage in the industry.

Socialist MP Olivier Véran, who spearheaded the bil,l said new measures would require models to undergo a full medical assessment proving they’re not undernourished before being hired.

“In the bill, I suggest that from now on, a model has to go through a medical visit before she's hired which would evaluate the Body Mass Index, and this index is used by the World Health Organisation to determine if someone is undernourished or even in a state of famine. I also suggest that the medical certificate for workability cannot be delivered to people who are undernourished and who therefore are putting their life and health in danger.”

Agencies found to employ models considered too thin could face a fine of up to 75,000 euros (that’s 55,000 pounds) and six months in prison. The measure is part of a wider crackdown on anorexia backed by President Francois Hollande's government. A similar amendment aimed at so-called Pro-ana websites has also been approved under which people found guilty of inciting others too extreme thinness could face a year in prison and a ten-thousand-euro fine.

According to the health ministry, an estimated 40,000 people suffer from anorexia in France. Nine out of ten of them women.

Difficult words: excessively (very), fine (money you must pay for doing something illegal), spearhead (to lead), undernourished (not having enough food), famine (having almost no food), crackdown (an action which deals with a problem), anorexia (a mental illness which makes people stop eating), amendment (rule), Pro-ana (pro-anorexia), incite (to tell somebody to do something).


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