Italy will introduce rules this week to keep very young and very thin models off the catwalks, with a new code of ethics for designers to promote a healthier body image, the government said in comments published today.
The text due to be signed on Friday by the government and two leading fashion associations, the Italian Fashion Federation and Alta Moda, aims to promote "a healthy and generous image of beauty", youth minister Giovanna Melandri said.
Under the agreement, anyone with a body mass index less than the recommended healthy limit of 18 -- the equivalent of a person 1.72 metres (five feet six inches) tall and weighing 53 kilograms (117 pounds) -- will be banned from modelling on the catwalk.
Models will receive a medical examination to check their body mass index before fashion shows, and girls aged under 16 will be forbidden from appearing.
Designers will also commit to making their collections available in bigger sizes so that they are not reserved exclusively for the very thin.
Melandri told the newspaper Il Messaggero that the agreement aims to revive a type of "Mediterranean beauty".
The agreement follows similar measures in Spain, where several models were prevented from appearing in a Madrid fashion show in September under a regional law aimed at fighting anorexia, after they measured below the index limit.
The new regulations will be enforced at the major fashion shows in Rome in January and in Milan the following month.
Last month 21-year-old Brazilian model Ana Carolina Reston died from anorexia. She was 1.