Eating disorders among fashion models: a systematic review of the literature

  • Simona Alexandra Zancu
  • Violeta EneaEmail author



In the light of recent concerns regarding the eating disorders among fashion models and professional regulations of fashion model occupation, an examination of the scientific evidence on this issue is necessary. The article reviews findings on the prevalence of eating disorders and body image concerns among professional fashion models.


A systematic literature search was conducted using ProQUEST, EBSCO, PsycINFO, SCOPUS, and Gale Canage electronic databases.


A very low number of studies conducted on fashion models and eating disorders resulted between 1980 and 2015, with seven articles included in this review. Overall, results of these studies do not indicate a higher prevalence of eating disorders among fashion models compared to non-models. Fashion models have a positive body image and generally do not report more dysfunctional eating behaviors than controls. However, fashion models are on average slightly underweight with significantly lower BMI than controls, and give higher importance to appearance and thin body shape, and thus have a higher prevalence of partial-syndrome eating disorders than controls.


Despite public concerns, research on eating disorders among professional fashion models is extremely scarce and results cannot be generalized to all models. The existing research fails to clarify the matter of eating disorders among fashion models and given the small number of studies, further research is needed.


Fashion models Eating disorders Body dissatisfaction Body image 



The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

Informed consent

For this type of study formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences“Alexandru Ioan Cuza” UniversityIasiRomania

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