It has been largely coincidental. On the same day of the movie debut of “Thin” about eating disorders, Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died from an infection brought about by anorexia. She was only a mere 21 years old and an attractive model representing for top agencies like Ford. At the time of her death she was 1.72m tall and less than 40 kilos which is 5’7′ and 88 pounds.
Her death highlighted about the ills of eating disorders. Even Wikipedia, the premier online encyclopedia, has a listing and a short description about her life and eating disorder. She was said to have lived on apples and tomatoes prior to her hospitalization in October.
She was not the first to have died this year from an eating disorder. The first was Luisel Ramos, 22, who suffered a heart attack some time in August after surviving on lettuce leaves and Diet Coke for three months.
For a long time, Ana Carolina refused to believe that she needed treatment or the fact that she was ill. However, it was clear to her family who observed that she ate very little at meal times but would go to the bathroom after the meal to throw up. Her behaviour is very typical of someone with anorexic symptoms. In many cases, an anorexic person would not seek treatment until the condition is fairly serious. Some even do not seek treatment at all.
Ana Carolina’s mother is clearly devastated by the death of her daughter. She now hopes to spread the message that no money brought in a top modeling career is worth the life of a child.
The death of Ana Carolina comes at a time when there is growing concerns about how designers
are propagating the wrong ideas of a body image. It was a fad that started in Los Angeles but which quickly spread throughout the fashion world in the use of size zero models. Clearly, a zero size model would be suffering from some form of anorexia.
More fashion locations, including London, are taking note now. In September, Madrid refused to allow all models with a body-mass-index (BMI) of less than 18, to participate in shows. The World Health Organization considers anyone with a BMI below 18.5 to be underweight. No doubt, the death of Ana Carolina would be used as a case to compel designers to drop models who are too skinny.
The media, including all publishers of fashion magazines, newspapers, advertising agencies, as well as all fashion houses and venues should have a responsibility in promoting healthy ideas. Using anorexic models sends the wrong messages to young girls and women. It is not right to promote the idea of depriving oneself of adequate nutrition so as to achieve a stick thin appearance. Young women should look healthy and glowing. And most certainly, not sickly and ghastly. Nor should they be dying from the damage caused by an eating disorder.