Israeli Law Hopes to Combat Eating Disorders

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JERUSALEM, Israel -- A new Israeli law that went into effect on Jan. 1 aims to curb anorexia and bulimia among young women.

The law -- the first of its kind worldwide -- requires models to provide a medical report at every photo shoot, not older than three months, showing that their body mass meets World Health Organization's minimum standard.

That standard says a body mass index below 18.5 indicates the person is malnourished.

The new legislation also requires publishers to disclose when a photo has been digitally altered to make the models appear thinner.

In 2007, Israeli fashion model Hila Elmaliah succumbed to anorexia at age 34. She had dwindled to 60 pounds when she died.

Her untimely death prompted photographer Adi Barkan to lobby Israeli lawmakers to pass legislation regulating fashion model's weight.

Three years ago, fashion model Aline Stelman also died from the disease. Her sister, 21-year-old Margaux, a university student from Belgium, began her own modeling career several months ago.

"This disease is something that's very close to me," Margaux told The Associated Press. "Doing the exact opposite, showing girls that [they] can be healthy and be a model anyway, it's really something I want to show."

Other countries, including the United States and Great Britain, provide guidelines on eating disorders but none has passed legislation. The fashion industry generally is self-regulated.

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