Women's clothes don't fit, says report
A pioneering study by the Health Ministry shows that over 86 percent of Spanish women have a healthy height-to-weight ratio.8 February 2008
MADRID - A pioneering study by the Health Ministry shows that over 86 percent of Spanish women have a healthy height-to-weight ratio, yet 41 percent said they have trouble finding clothes that fit them. The results of the report have prompted the Ministry to propose abolishing the existing clothes-size system.
The study, which measured the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 10,400 girls and women between 12 and 70 years of age, is a snapshot of women living in Spain, who are on average 1.62 m tall and weigh 57 kg.
The idea for the report came after a public controversy over the extreme thinness of catwalk models, which led fashion show organisers to ensure that their model's BMI be at least 18, a figure the World Health Organisation considers acceptable.
For the first time, the report also establishes three new body types for women, which the Health Ministry is calling "cylinder," "diavolo" and "bell."
This new system breaks with the traditional categories that referred to men. The cylinder is the predominant body type in childhood and early teens, the diavolo - named after the popular toy and referring to a narrow waist compared with chest and hips - is more common among adult females, and the bell, where the bosom and waist have similar measures and the hips widen, occurs most frequently in later years. But the report found this does not mean that one body type is limited to one age range, which is the reason why many women cannot find clothes that fit them right. The report is intended to inform fashion designers to give them a better sense of what they should be designing for customers.
But Health Minister Bernat Soria went further Thursday, saying he now plans to take these conclusions to the European Union with the goal of establishing a new size system to replace the current one. Instead of size 42, for instance, there would be a code for a woman's height and her chest-waist-hips measurements. This 1-2-3-4 type system would make it easier for women to find clothes that really fit them.
"We're moving towards the disappearance of sizes," said Soria of a system that has been in place since 1972. Soria did not specify when these changes might be implemented. The announcement was a pleasant surprise for consumer groups such as Facua, since until now the only plans were for clothes makers to regulate themselves.
The Ministry study showed that 56.2 percent of Spanish women have a normal BMI, which ranges from 17 to 29.9, while 24.9 percent are overweight and five percent are slightly underweight. Soria highlighted one issue of concern in the report, and that was the fact that 70 percent of females who were found to be extremely thin, with a BMI of under 16 (representing 1.4 percent of the total) said they were satisfied with the way they looked.
Following Spain's lead, Germany has initiated a similar study, while Portuguese authorities said they will probably follow suit in the near future.
[Copyright EL PAÍS / E. DE BENITO / SUSANA URRA 2008]
Subject: Spanish news