Sixty-two percent of models have been told by their agencies to lose weight, according to a new study by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Northeastern University. The survey of models, conducted in partnership with the labor advocacy group The Model Alliance, is the largest study of eating disorders in models.
Researchers told Seventeen magazine in a February 2, 2017, article that a high prevalence of models said they used unhealthy methods to lose weight or maintain a low weight. Eighty-one percent of models reported having a Body Mass Index (BMI) classified as underweight, and many said they faced significant pressure from modeling agencies to lose weight—including being told they would not be booked on jobs until they lost weight. Study authors said that because many of these models are teens or young adults, eating disorders can have serious consequences on growth and development that will affect them later in life.
S. Bryn Austin, professor in the Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, was senior author of the paper, which was published in the International Journal of Eating Disorders. She is the director of the Strategic Training Initiative for the Prevention of Eating Disorders (STRIPED) at Harvard Chan School.
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