Lindsay Lohan's New Role: Leading Trend of Too-Thin Celebs

Lindsay Lohan says she wants to get back to work, focus on her career and prove to her critics that she can play the part of a serious actress.

But following her breakup with DJ Samantha Ronson, all she's proved is her ability to shed pounds.

Lohan, 22, flashed a shocking amount of skin and bone while shopping in Los Angeles last week, wearing a halter-cut dress that highlighted the caverns of her shrinking frame. People magazine reported Friday that Lohan's friends and family see her weight loss as a cry for help.

It's probably not the role she was going for, but Lohan's current appearance makes her the poster child for frail figures in the news.

Lindsay Lohan shopping in Los Angeles in April.

She wasn't always so skinny -- Lohan appeared healthy, happy and at home with her curves in her breakout role in 2004's "Mean Girls."

Lindsay Lohan in "Mean Girls."

But she seemed markedly thinner at the time of her 2007 DUI arrest, and her weight appeared even lower last fall.

Lindsay Lohan in July 2007.

Lohan joins Australia's Miss Universe contestant Stephanie Naumoska, 19, as one of the latest people in the public eye to provoke concern because of her scary-skinny frame. Naumoska reportedly has a body mass index of 15.1, far below the healthy benchmark of 18.5.

Australia's Miss Universe contestant Stephanie Naumoska.

And then there's another cast of characters cyclically making headlines because of their bony bodies, among them, Mischa Barton, Kate Bosworth, Angelina Jolie and Katie Holmes. The fashion industry can crow about curvy figures making a comeback, but in a world where Kate Moss sparks pregnancy rumors because she packs on a pound or two, the waif aesthetic still has its adherents.

Katie Holmes. asked members of the medical community to weigh in on the appearance of Lohan, Naumoska and Holmes. The verdict: their too-thin frames are damaging for them and for the people who see their photos and think such figures are normal.

Madelyn H. Fernstrom, director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Weight Management Center: "Linsday Lohan has grown up before the camera. We have so many visuals of her, and she yo-yos from underweight to the lower-end of healthy. To me, it seems a range of about 20 pounds -- she's at the low end now. So, compared to other photos of her, she looks underweight to me, and is definitely thinner than she has been in recent months and years."

Doctors on Too-Thin Celebrities

"Stephanie, to me, looks way below a healthy BMI, and appears to be about a BMI of 16 or so -- a typical fashion model weight is about 16-17 (both are underweight by medical standards). Fernstorm says. " So, she fits in that genre. It looks to me like she restricts food intake. She has that kind of build like Twiggy, the model from the 70s who insisted she ate a lot, and was "naturally" very thin. Two decades later, and about 25 pounds heavier, she acknowledged this was not her natural frame, and it took hard work to maintain this low weight."

"For Katie Holmes, we have seen some weight fluctuations recently, particularly when she has been photographed with her friend, Victoria Beckham. Again, we are used to seeing Katie Holmes at a higher, but still fit and trim weight -- probably a BMI of around 19 or 20. ... I have seen other photos of her where she appears to be at a BMI of around 18. She has a much different life than the other two -- wife, mother, actress, a real multitasker, which might contribute to some modest weight loss."

Leslie Bonci, director of sports nutrition at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center: "Looking at the pictures of Lindsay and Stephanie, they're definitely frail. If you took away the clothes, the makeup and jewelry, you would have bodies that look like concentration camp survivors. With Lindsay, the dullness of hair also points to malnutrition. ... It's harder to tell with Katie, but the fatigue that sometimes accompanies inadequate nutrition, bags under the eyes, and the look of gauntness indicate a body that is not optimally nourished."

Beverly B. Green of Seattle's Center for Health Studies: "Lindsay and Stephanie are anorexic. It may not be to the point where they are at risk for dying from it, but it is associated with other issues -- obsessive and secret eating patterns that can be hard on family members. They are bad role models for the children in their family (and sometimes control their eating too), and they will get osteoporosis and at a young age."