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Bill Would Ban Anorexic Models In California

Credit: Farrukh / flickr

An extremely thin female model is shown, Sept. 15, 2012.

Aired 2/25/16 on KPBS News.

Extremely thin models would be prohibited in California, under a bill introduced in the state Assembly.

When it comes to California's modeling industry, too thin just isn't in.

That's according to a bill introduced in the California Assembly. AB 2539, sponsored by Assemblyman Marc Levine, D-Marin County, would ban anorexic-looking models in the state.

The measure would require the modeling industry to adopt new health standards that include medical checkups and nutritional counseling.

Under the bill, models would have to get a physician to certify that they don’t have an eating disorder. Modeling agencies would have to keep the certificates on file, or face a fine.

Levine believes the fashion industry’s obsession with extreme thinness sends a bad message to young people.

“When you look at the look that models are supposed to attain, it’s actually completely unattainable, to look like a model and be healthy," Levine said.

Experts say eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are complex conditions that can cause serious health problems.

Dr. Walter Kaye, director of the eating disorders program at UC San Diego, said these illnesses are caused by a multitude of factors.

“It’s just not one thing," Kaye said. "There may be some people that are very much influenced by body image, and there probably are other people where there’s a contributory biology.”

Levine said his bill to prohibit extremely thin models is patterned after laws that were recently adopted in France, Italy and Spain.

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