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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 July 2007, 02:43 GMT 03:43 UK
Girls under 16 'should not model'
A size zero model
The Inquiry was set up to look after models' health
Girls under 16 should be banned from the catwalks at London Fashion Week, according to an inquiry ordered by the British fashion industry.

The Model Health Inquiry is advising the organisers of London Fashion Week.

Panel chairwoman Baroness Kingsmill said it was "profoundly inappropriate" that young girls should be portrayed as adult women.

The September fashion show is also under pressure from those concerned at using very slim women in catwalk shows.

The panel of experts for the independent Model Health Inquiry, set up to investigate health problems among models, also called for greater protection for 17 and 18 year-olds.

But it ruled out weighing all models because this had been considered ineffective in other countries and may be counter-productive.

It is still considering whether to advise that models' Body Mass Index, or height/weight ratio, be checked before they are employed.

It also highlights the need to protect younger models, and calls for a union for the profession.

'Startling evidence'

Baroness Kingsmill said: "During our investigations members of the panel became increasingly concerned as we heard more details about the working conditions faced by many models and the vulnerability of young women working in an unregulated and scarcely-monitored work environment.

"We have been given startling medical evidence about the prevalence and impact of eating disorders in certain high-risk industries.

"There was also strongly expressed concern that it is profoundly inappropriate that girls under 16 under the age of consent should be portrayed as adult women.

"The risk of sexualising these children was high and designers could risk charges of sexual exploitation."

Panel members also called for a rigorous scientific study into the prevalence of eating disorders among fashion models.

The British Fashion Council has indicated that it will accept the Inquiry's final recommendations when they are published in September, in time for the next London Fashion Week which is held that month.

The influence of models on young girls

Young 'hung up on their bodies'
20 Feb 07 |  Health
Fashion show bans skinny models
20 Sep 06 |  West Midlands
Winslet attacks 'size zero' trend
10 Dec 06 |  Entertainment

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