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Last Updated: Friday, 22 December 2006, 21:05 GMT
Italy pact to stop skinny models
Ana Carolina Reston (file image)
Model Carolina Reston weighed only 40kg (88 lbs) when she died
Italy's fashion industry and the government have pledged to abide by a voluntary code of conduct which aims to keep unhealthy models from the catwalk.

According to the code, models must provide a medical certificate proving they do not suffer eating disorders.

The code also bans the use of models aged under 16 and urges the use of larger-sized models.

Italy's youth and sports minister said fashion's obsession with slimness created an extreme aesthetic.

"Sixty percent of teenagers in our country would like to be skinnier that they are," said Giovanna Melandri.

"There is a line between a thin girl and a sick one that is often crossed. Italy, with this manifesto, is committed to recognising this boundary and not crossing it," she said.

Setting a threshold

The code does not clarify how those who violate the code would be punished, nor does it carry any legal weight.

However, senior figures within Italy's large fashion sector, said that houses that flouted the rules would be sanctioned by being sidelined from major fashion events.

"It's about technical punishment. But these technicalities are very important in fashion," said Stefano Dominella, head of AltaRoma which organises such events in the Italian capital.

In September, Spain banned models with a body mass index of less than 18 from taking part in Madrid's fashion week.

UN health experts recommend a BMI - a calculation based on height and weight - of between 18.5 and about 25.

In November, the death of a 21-year-old Brazilian model, Ana Carolina Reston, from complications related to anorexia also led to a campaign in Brazil to bar underweight and underage models from the catwalk.

Models on the catwalk are scrutinised

Madrid bans waifs from catwalks
13 Sep 06 |  Europe
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