Dr Shivani Sachdev Gour

Size zero may be the latest fad, but it can put you out of circulation for a good length of time

Women the world over followed matinee siren Marilyn Montoe in the forties to get their overfed bodies into that magical 36-24-36 shape. To stay curvy remained a fad through the sixties until being pencil-slim with carefully arranged curves became the norm in the nineties. The nano-nineties melted the curves into water-thin bodies. In the new millennium, its plain size zero. So what is size zero, So what is size zero ?

Europe has set it at 31-23-32 and star-struck young girls in India are working overtime to get their having suddenly discovered that film star Kareena Kapoor now has that “must-have” body.

Even though Page 3 is going to town with size zero, this anorexic body-turning has its own dangers. Health experts say that size zero is a time bomb waiting to explode, as it has serious medical implications that often lead to irreversible infertility.

Dr. Shivani Sachdeva Gour, gynaecologist and fertility expert, says, “Size zero is a new dangerous trend and if pursed can lead to several gynaecologist problems, including infertility. It can lead to hormonal imbalance and problem in conceiving in the future.” 

Dr. Kamala Ganesh, former HOD, Gynaecologist, LNJP, called for more focus on reducing obsessive dieting, bad eating habits and dissatisfaction with bodies among the young. “Being underweight has serious repercussions,” Dr. Ganesh states. “It disrupts growth and brain development and leads to fertility problems.” Many are at a greater risk of developing the brittle-bone disease when they are older.

To get that look, people are going in for all sorts of options like size zero pills, size zero diet and even liposuction. Dr. Anup Dhir, Cosmetic surgeon, Apollo Hospital, says, “There are girls who feel pressured to undergo cosmetic surgeries such as liposuction or tummy tuck even though they have a normal body image. Such girls usually suffer from the psychological fear of putting on weight, and they need to be counseled."

Health experts feel constant print and TV images of stick-thin, size-zero models put young girls’ health at risk and fuel the rise in eating disorders. Unrelenting exposure to pictures of thin women reduce self-esteem, especially among teenage girls.

Dr. Sameer Malhotra, head of psychiatry and psychotherapy at Fortis Hospital Vasant Kunj says, “We are all social beings and get influenced by the social environment we live in and this effect is the strongest in adolescents. Repeated images of women who look like twigs make girls extremely self-critical and even if they are thin, they feel that they are fat. Eating disorders are growing and females are becoming more prone to bulimia and anorexia. Most of the time they do not even consult a dietician.”

But there are programmes available to get young girls out of this mess. Dr. Ishi Khosla, dietician says, “Cut programmes are customised for individuals. We provide one-on-one counselling. We take into consideration their concerns. We try to restore their confidence and tell them that eating healthy and exercising are very important.”

Adds Dr. Malhotra, “In such cases, the treatment needs to be holistic wherein we correct the underlying stress factors.”

Priya (name changed) always wanted to be an air hostess. When she was 18, she started applying to get her dream job but for that she needed to lose weight. “I weighed 66kg and my height was 5’4. “ I wanted to lose about 12 to 14 kg.” She admits that she looked up to skinny role models for inspirations. After shredding 12 to 14 kgs, she wanted to shed some more weight. She joined a leading slimming centre and after a few sessions, discovered that she wasn’t having her periods at all. After trying all forms of medication and treatment, she finally got her period but the cycle has been very irregular. “When her period stopped her BMI was less than 18, which is very dangerous,” says  Dr. Shivani Sachdeva Gour. World Health Organisation classifies a body mass index below 18 unhealthy. Priya says she was na├»ve to have gone for something as perilous.

 In this quest for achieving size zero figures, these young girls end up in hospitals. Dr. Gour gets about one such case every month. She says, “The size zero concept is a new trend and most of the girls who come to me are below the age of 18 or in nearly 20s.” She recalls the case of an NRI who had anorexia when she was very young. She became size zero, her period stopped and she realised something very terribly wrong with her. So, she went for counseling and only then could she regain her lost weight but her periods still would not come naturally. She has to take medicines for it. She got married and started treatment to have a baby. “We tried simple techniques but it did not work. I have not got a follow up done but the next step is IVF really,” Dr. Gour says.

Married women face severe problems due to the craving for size zero. The extremes in body weight are associated with infertility and a range of adverse customers for both the mother and the baby during pregnancy during the pre natal period. Whereas being underweight causes poor fetal growth and elevated pregnancy loss. But overweight is more strongly associated with disease in pregnancy, pregnancy loss, stillbirths and high birth weight.


Kareena in her size zero figure is no longer sizzling. Most people find the fad dangerous and unhealthy. Boys don’t like skinny girls and the girls don’t find it glam anymore.

I think it’s sheer stupidity to risk your health for vanity. I have no problem with my figure.
If given a chance I would love to have a size zero figure. There is nothing wrong in it.
This is a fad kindled by Kareena Kapoor’s stick-thin image. Boys don’t like skinny girls.
Size zero may work in Hollywood but in India it us a dumb thing to do. A healthy body is the best.