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Updated: April 10, 2012 20:49 IST

Zero-ing in

Maya Rajshekar
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SKINNY Is not necessarily healthy. File Photo
AP SKINNY Is not necessarily healthy. File Photo

Even as the quest for size zero continues, are we missing the most vital point — health?

It all started with Kareena Kapoor's “Tashan”. The actor had reduced her weight to a mere 48 kg during the making of the film, and was the talk of the town. Suddenly, size zero was in! There were reports that many girls hit the gym, as the buzz got louder. Thankfully, a few years on, the obsession seems to have come down, but has not quite died.

So, is this size zero craze healthy? Mohan Rao, a paediatric surgeon at Fortis Malar Hospital in the city says: “Teenage and adolescent girls being underweight has serious repercussions, including psychological issues, mood swings, obsessive disorders and even bone disorders such as osteoporosis (brittle bones) at a very early stage in life. For most girls, the greatest risk is being unable to live a normal life, establish and maintain a normal relationship. Some can even develop suicidal tendencies.”

Global resonance

Interestingly, the size zero alarm has resonated across the globe. In September 2010, Victoria Beckham banned size zero models from appearing in her show after deeming them skinny. Last month, Israel banned the use of underweight models. The law now stipulates that women and men hired as models must be certified by a physician as having a mass index of no less than 18.5.

Of course, the move has evoked mixed responses — while many welcome it, there are others who see it as “arbitrary” and “not appropriate for every model”.

However, models or not, many seem to agree that this obsession for size zero is unnatural. Amy Varghese, a student of Madras School of Social Work in the city, says: “If you are naturally underweight, it's fine. But, when girls try hard to get to size zero, it could harm them.” George Cheeran Varghese, another student says: “The whole size zero concept is too over-rated.”

Sricharan Rangarajan, a postgraduate student of New York University says: “I personally believe, it's better if people — men or women — aren't too thin. Fashion houses are to blame for this obsession for being skinny. They put these unrealistic ideas into young people's minds. Striving for size zero is not a healthy way to live.”

While the debate on whether size zero is good or not continues, what's certain is one must remember it's very important to remain healthy and happy.

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