Extreme diets used to be a trend. Being healthy is now a trend.
With the ratio of underweight women in their 20s falling below 20 percent for the first time in 20 years, health and fashion experts are looking at whether this means the desire to be thin has been replaced by the quest to be healthy.
According to the latest health ministry report on people’s health and diet, women in their 20s whose body mass index is below 18.5 – a figure considered underweight – accounted for 17.4 percent in 2014, the first time the figure was below the 20 percent mark since 1995.
BMI is a measure of body fat based on the height and weight of adults, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared.
At 26, Nao overcame an eating disorder. Then she was scouted to become a model. Nao, who now appears in La Farfa, a fashion magazine for plus-size women, said she was obsessed with losing weight when she was in high school and experienced a vicious cycle of excessive dieting followed by overeating.
As she pursued her career in photography, she noticed there are many people living with complexes related to their weight, and started to feel she was fine the way she was.
La Farfa, launched in 2013, is the nation’s only fashion magazine catering to larger women.
Harumi Kon, editor-in-chief of La Farfa, said fashion magazines have stopped using photos of extremely thin women after several models who had anorexia died.