FILED IN: Health

Not A Pretty Picture

Twenty-one year old Ana Carolina Reston died in Sao Paolo, Brazil on Tuesday due to complications from anorexia nervosa.

She weighed 88 pounds.?‚? At 88 lbs she had a body mass index of 13.5%.?‚? Anything under 18.5% is considered malnourished.?‚?

Does it matter that she was a model??‚? Yes and no.?‚? She was also someone’s daughter, granddaughter,?‚? possibly a niece, maybe an aunt, most likely a friend.?‚? Not all those afflicted with anorexia are models, but all are dying to be thin. I know that was the name of a movie of the week at some point, but it certainly describes the epidemic perfectly.?‚?

No matter what or who she was, she ?‚? caught-up – or shall I say – tangled up – with the driving need to be thin. So much so that thinness became her addiction and her illness?‚? and it overtook – and took – her life.

Its not news that models are too thin these days and that it sends a convoluted message to girls, women, boys and men everywhere as to what a healthy body is – and what a healthy body image should be.?‚?

In Spain, models must have a body mass index of 18%.?‚? That country is trying to keep its young models alive. Thinner than most of us still, but not dead model walking thin.?‚? And I think that’s a good start and a trend worth following.

I’m telling my eleven year old about the Brazilian model and also about?‚? the ruling in Spain.?‚? Not that I think she’s anorexic – or even has the tendency to be.?‚? Not that I want to scare her. I just want her aware of what happens to?‚? some people sometimes – and that it is possible to be too thin.?‚? Not too thin?‚? along the lines of the girls who are still sporting little girl bodies in junior high, but?‚? so thin that?‚? it isn’t healthy. I think that is a hard concept?‚? for us to wrap our heads around, even as adults. We know it, but it’s hard to believe and understand.

So while?‚? Brazilian bikini waxes get a lot of?‚? airtime?‚? ?‚? — why not this story from south of the equator??‚? Because?‚? a young model dying from anorexia nervosa is not a pretty picture.?‚? Real images of a young woman at 88 lbs with bones sticking out of paper thin skin, gaunt cheeks and?‚? sunken sullen eyes do not sell the magazines that Ana Carolina was dying to be in.

When you’re in the pretty picture business, death and dying do not add up to dollars.

Maybe just once if these magazines would hold up an example of ‘What Not To Do’ it could make as much of an impact on young girls?‚? everywhere as the famed “What Not To Wear” has made on the contents of many closets.