Supermodel Gisele Bundchen has entered the growing anorexia debate in Brazil, saying families are to blame -- not the fashion industry.
"I never suffered this problem because I had a very strong family base," Bundchen was quoted as saying in Friday's edition of O Globo newspaper. "The parents are responsible, not fashion."
The 26-year-old model was in Brazil for the annual Fashion Rio, a weeklong showcase of the country's top designers.
Anorexia nervosa, a disorder characterized by an abnormal fear of becoming obese, became a hot issue in Brazil after four young women died from it last month, including model Ana Carolina Reston, 21. The 5-foot-8 (1.72-meter) model weighed 88 pounds (40 kilograms) at the time of her death.
Splashed across the front pages of newspapers nationwide, anorexia has become a morbid fascination for Brazilians, and was even the theme of a popular TV soap opera. It also sparked a debate within Brazil's fashion industry that has long presented the rail-thin model as the paragon of female beauty.
"Everybody knows the standard for models is to be thin," Bundchen said. "But you can't generalize and say that all models are anorexic."
Bundchen, who began a three-month modeling job in Japan when she was 14, said family support was key to her.
"You leave home, the protection of your parents, but you still know you have their support," said the Brazilian, who has five sisters.
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