We are in big trouble. Like Jack Sprat and his wife, our dogs are too fat and our models too skinny.
But no problem is insurmountable to good ol’ American ingenuity.
For the fat dog in your life, the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has come out with a new diet drug for doggies called Slentrol that was approved yesterday by the FDA. Said drug can’t be used for humans because it causes fatty infiltration of the liver, although one researcher opined that similar drugs may be used in humans in the future as long as they are taken with yet another drug that blocks the entry of fat into the liver. (It would be fun to ask this moron how this latter drug would affect fat made in the liver, the origin of most of the fat that accumulates in that organ.)
Why do we need a diet drug for dogs, especially one costing $1 to $2 per day? Because, just like their human owners, dogs are suffering an obesity epidemic. Vets estimate that 20-30% of dogs in this country are overweight and another 5% are out and out obese.
One wonders why. I may have trouble fighting off all the neural and hormonal signals telling me to have at the giant cinnamon roll and go face down in it, but I wouldn’t have trouble denying such a thing to my dog. But, apparently, many people can’t abide Fido’s hungry stares, and so give in. Clearly, the dog owners are at fault.
“People are treating their dogs like children,” said Dr. Hal Taylor III, a veterinarian in Columbus, Ohio, who calls obesity one of the biggest health issues dogs face. “They overindulge them, they get them heavy.”
And, hey, their children are overweight as well.
But not all children are overweight. A subset of children, teenage models, have the opposite problem: they are way too thin. So thin, in fact, that a few of them have died.
Fashion show officials in Italy and Spain have taken steps to reverse or at least halt the trend toward evermore skelelonized models. Spain requires that models have a BMI of at least 18 before they are allowed to strut the runway. Italy’s rules, as you might imagine, are more labyrinthine, but still hold models to some standard of weight decency.
Like young men wanting to make it in professional sports, women wanting to break into the lucrative modeling world will go to any extreme necessary. And like the governing bodies of most professional sports that keep and eye out for steroid and other performance-enhancing drug use, the Council of Fashion Designers of America has met and come up with recommendations for models in fashion shows in the United States. What are these recommendations?
According to participants at the meeting, the recommendations are likely to include scheduling fashion-show fittings with younger models during daylight hours, rather than late at night, to help them get more sleep; urging designers to identify models with eating disorders; and introducing more nutritious backstage catering, where a diet of Champagne and cigarettes is the norm.
There are no plans to require models to achieve an objective measure of health like a height-to-weight ratio, which was imposed by Madrid in September, a move that brought much public attention to the issue. It was further highlighted by the death of Ana Carolina Reston, a 21-year-old Brazilian model, from complications of anorexia in November.
So, there you have it. Eat more and sleep more. I wonder why the models hadn’t thought of that already. I’ll bet these new recommendations have these young girls porked up in no time. I’m sure that none of them actually realized how easy it was to not be skin and bones.
Thanks Council of Fashion Designers of America for your serious concern about the health of these young women. And for your concern about their looks. I can’t wait for the change, because I’m tired of seeing models that make the ultra-thin Twiggy of my youth look like Mamma Cass.
Alas, it’s probably only a dream. The reality is that, damn the consequences, we’ll continue to overfeed our dogs and underfeed our models with all too predicable results.