France aims to criminalize advertising with anorexic models

PARIS (AP) — France’s health minister says she supports plans to criminalize the use of advertising with anorexic models in France.

The measure would put France, a world capital of fashion, with countries like Israel and Spain that are cracking down on the glorification of dangerously thin models.

Socialist lawmaker Olivier Veran, who is also a doctor, wants to add language to an upcoming health bill to make it illegal to employ models deemed to have an eating disorder. Modeling agencies would have to produce a medical report showing that their models have maintained a healthy mass-to-height ratio.

A second change in the law would make it a crime to glorify “excessive thinness,” which would target those who run pro-anorexia websites, punishable by up to one year in prison and 10,000 euros ($10,575) in fines.

Veran was expected to propose the amendments later Monday, part of a health reform bill to be presented in parliament’s lower house on March 31. A previous draft bill on the same issue never got to a vote by parliament in 2008.

Up to an estimated 40,000 people suffer from anorexia in France, 90 percent of them women, according to the health ministry.

In 2007, Spain banned models from the catwalks whose body mass-to-height ratio was below 18. In Israel, a law in 2013 banned underweight models.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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