: views from the Hill

Friday, November 17, 2006

Anorexia kills

The papers carried news today that Brazilian fashion model Ana Carlina Reston, 21, died Tuesday of complications (a "generalized infection") related to anorexia.

Articles about Reston's death are mentioning her last BMI (13.5).

Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos collapsed and died in August as she walked off the catwalk at a fashion show. She died of heart failure caused by her efforts to skinny down after she was told she could become a top model if she did so. Ramos reportedly ate only lettuce and drank only Diet Coke for the three months preceding her death. In reaction to Ramos' death and to complaints from women's organizations and medical sources, Spain barred uber skinny models from their top fashion show last September.

The cutoff BMI for the Spanish show was 18, or the equivalent of 119 pounds on a 5'8" model. (A BMI under 18.5 is considered underweight.) When she died, Reston was 5'8" and weighed less than ninety pounds.

The Reston articles usually ran a snap of Reston in her heyday.

Folks, this isn't what an anorexic looks like.

Reston believed that being thin, losing weight, would make her more attractive, more successful as a model, so she lost weight and more weight and more weight until it killed her.

If you search for articles on Reston, it's easy to find photographs of a beautiful model and harder to find pictures of Reston looking like this or like this.

It is possible to be too thin.

Anorexia kills. It's a treatable disease.

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