Results of a strategic science study to inform policies targeting extreme thinness standards in the fashion industry Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The appearance pressures experienced by fashion models have been criticized as harmful to their health, as well as increasing eating disorder risk among youth by promoting ideals of extreme thinness. Given recent legislation to protect models, we undertook a strategic science study to assess professional fashion models' perceptions of the potential impact and feasibility of seven policy proposals. A sample of 85 female fashion models, mean age = 22.7 years (SD 3.7) completed an online survey assessing unhealthy weight control behaviors (UWCB), perceived pressure from agencies to lose weight, as well as the perceived impact and feasibility of seven potential policy actions. Chi-squared analyses and multivariable logistic regressions compared UWCB among models who were asked to lose weight and those who were not. Friedman and Kendall's W tests were conducted to examine differences in impact and feasibility ratings across the seven policy proposals. Models reported high levels of pressure to lose weight, which was associated with higher odds of engaging in UWCB. The policy approaches rated as most impactful were those to increase worker protections, though they were rated as only moderately feasible. Requiring employers to provide food and a 30-min break for jobs longer than 6 h was rated as both impactful and feasible. Imposing restrictions on minimum BMI was rated as the least impactful. Approaches providing employment protections and healthier working conditions are most supported by professional models. These findings help to illuminate viable policy approaches from the perspective of key stakeholders.

publication date

  • 2017