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Dr. Kim Mulvihill Reporting It's fashion week in Milan, Italy, but what's turning heads on the streets is a shocking billboard campaign.
The slogan on the billboard says no to anorexia. However, some experts believe the campaign is really saying yes.
Looking down on the fashionable streets of Milan is the naked truth about anorexia. Huge billboards show the emaciated frame of 27-year-old Isabelle Caro. She weighs less than 70 pounds.
Caro has battled anorexia for 15 years. "When I see myself now I say, ‘What a horror.' I'm trying to get out of it and I want young women to know it's possible," she said.
The billboards, ads for a clothing brand called Nolita, carry the slogan "No Anorexia." The Italian Ministry of Health thinks they're a good idea especially during fashion week, but Italian designers question why they're being singled out. "It's not just the fashion world, it's the whole system. Skin and bones, it gives me the creeps too," fashion designer Giorgio Armani said.
Not everyone buys it. Dr. Andrea Garber of the University of California, San Francisco specializes in eating disorders. She says the more ultra-thin images young people see, the more at risk they are of developing an eating disorder.
And while a campaign like this can raise awareness, Garber thinks it can also be damaging to some people. "On the other hand, if adolescents see this image, or people who have eating disorders see images like this, it can have the reverse effect and it really can be dangerous because sometimes these pictures of very thin women are almost as if they are setting a goal for young people to meet," she said.
And that can be deadly for teens and young adults.
An eating disorder is not a fad, it can a last a lifetime and lead to serious health consequences, including death.
The image on the billboard is very graphic, and some may find it disturbing. If you would like to see the pictures of the billboard, click the related link.