Modeling Agents Recruit Outside Eating Disorder Clinic

By McCarton Ackerman 04/18/13

Staff at the Swedish clinic say the "repugnant" practice sends the wrong message to patients.

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Modeling agencies in Sweden have reportedly made a practice of scouting for new talent outside of the country's biggest clinic for treating eating disorders. Dr. Anna-Maria af Sandberg, head of the Stockholm Center for Eating Disorders, says the "repugnant" practice has become so commonplace that the center was forced to change its policies towards patients going outside for walks. She tells Sweden's Metro newspaper that one of the women approached was so ill at the time that she was in a wheelchair. Sandberg says the practice sends the "wrong signals when the girls are being treated for eating disorders." Some patients at the clinic reportedly have a Body Mass index as low as 14, compared to a healthy BMI for women of between 18.5 and 24.9. Dangerously thin models have long been commonplace in the industry, but a disturbing new trend called "thigh gap" has recently emerged in the modeling world, where models' legs don't touch above the knees. Many critics claim that images of these models should be banned from the media, as they promote eating disorders and unhealthy body image, especially among young people. The Spanish government recently took a stand against promoting the underweight look, legislating against the use of models with a Body Mass index of under 18.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.