NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India does not want waif-like young women sashaying down the catwalk and acting as role models for thousands of girls who are starving themselves to get svelte figures, the Indian health minister said.
The minister’s statement comes after the unprecedented decision taken by fashion organizers in Madrid this month to ban underweight models from walking the ramp, saying they wanted to project an image of beauty and health, not a waif-like look.
The Times of India newspaper quoted Anbumani Ramadoss on Tuesday as saying that many girls in India’s cities and small towns were suffering from osteoporosis due to strict dieting.
“India faces both problems: obesity and osteoporosis. Though many more suffer from obesity, the number of young girls, starving to become thin-like models, is also rocketing,” the minister was quoted as saying.
Osteoporosis is a decrease in bone mass and density that increases the risk of fractures. A diet low in calcium and certain trace materials accelerates the process.
The United Nations says India is home to 57 million of the world’s 146 million malnourished children under the age of five. But at the same time the country’s growing middle class is also grappling with lifestyle ailments typical in the West, from obesity to anorexia.
“The Madrid decision, I hope, makes young girls focus more on being healthy and lean rather than starving and skinny,” Ramadoss said.
The Spanish decision was followed by Britain’s Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell urging organizers of London’s Fashion Week to ban “stick-thin” models.
Since 1994, when Indian models Sushmita Sen and Aishwarya Rai became Miss Universe and Miss World respectively, fashion shows and modeling have become the rage for millions of Indian girls.
India plays host to several major fashion shows, and television channels regularly air footage of skinny, scantily clad models.
Source: Yahoo News