Many models have to get down to a very unhealthy weight to keep their modeling agency happy. A new study says agencies pressure models to be a size zero. If the model is not skinny enough, the agency will not give her jobs. The study is in the 'International Journal of Eating Disorders'. It is the largest ever report to look at eating disorders among professional models and why they have to lose so much weight to get work. Lead researcher Dr Rachel Roberts said it was the first study to investigate the link between unhealthy eating and pressure from modeling agencies. She said: "We now have…solid, scientific proof that eating disorders are a serious health problem in the modeling industry."
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Researchers questioned 85 professional female models over the age of 18. They discovered that 81% of them were underweight. Many of the models led a very unhealthy lifestyle to stay underweight so they could get work from their agencies. They skipped meals, stopped eating for days, used diet pills and made themselves throw up. Over half the models said their agency told them they would not get jobs unless they lost more weight. It is not against the law for agencies to do this. Eating disorders can lead to serious health problems, such as infertility, heart damage, weak bones, organ failure and even death. In addition, teenagers want bodies like the size-zero models, which leads to public health issues.