01/22/2007 at 08:00 AM EST
The fashion industry isn't to blame for anorexia among young models – families are, Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen said Friday.
"I never suffered this problem because I had a very strong family base," Bundchen, 26, told Brazil's O Globo
newspaper during the country's annual Fashion Rio week, the Associated Press reports. "The parents are responsible, not fashion."
Anorexia became a front-page issue in Brazil after the deaths of several young women, including 21-year-old model Ana Carolina Reston
Reston's passing added fuel to the growing outrage over too-thin models
. "I understand that in the industry there is pressure to be skinny," Bundchen, who never met Reston, told PEOPLE at the time. "But (this) is what happens when people take things to extremes."
Last fall, organizers of Madrid's fashion week banned underweight models, and in December Italian designers started requiring models to submit proof that they do not have an eating disorder. Last week, New York's Council of Fashion Designers of America issued guidelines intended to keep possibly anorexic models out of runway shows.
But some people are naturally slender, Bundchen told O Globo
: "Everybody knows that the norm in fashion is thin. But excuse me, there are people born with the right genes for this profession."
She added, "Everybody knows the standard for models is to be thin. But you can't generalize and say that all models are anorexic."
Bundchen, who was recently named No. 16 on Forbes'
list of the 20 richest women in entertainment, first left home at 14 for a three-month modeling stint in Japan, and credits her success to her family.
"You leave home, the protection of your parents, but you still know you have their support," she said.