Health checks to protect models abandoned by British fashion industry

Eating disorder charities in Britain are criticising the decision by the British Fashion Council to abandon plans to insist models undergo a health test before taking to the catwalk.

Last September the British Fashion Council announced 14 proposals in a report called the Model Health Inquiry, which was a response to concerns about underweight models raised by the deaths of two South American models from eating disorders.

One of the main proposals was the introduction of health certificates for models on Britain's catwalks in order to prove they were healthy and not suffering from an eating disorder before they were allowed to work at the twice-yearly event.

The British Fashion Council says the initiative has now been abandoned because of a lack of support from other fashion capitals such as Milan, Paris and New York.

Officials in New York, Paris and Milan say the measures were unworkable and discriminated against other models who didn't appear on the catwalk.

Some in the business say while the debate about weight is healthy and the idea of a model health certificate is not a bad one, it would be impossible to implement.

Hilary Riva, chief executive of the BFC, has blamed impracticalities in the plan and models say that it discriminated against them, compromised their dignity and potentially infringes their human rights.

Models under the age of 16 are already banned at London Fashion Week and some eating disorder charities believe models should be championing a healthy body image themselves.

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