GERMAN fashion industry representatives signed a voluntary code of conduct in Berlin aimed at banning anorexic models from the catwalk, an initiative backed by the federal government.
In terms of the agreement, female models must be older than 16 and have a dress size of at least 36, equivalent to a size 10 in Britain and a size 6 in the United States.
The prime mover behind the initiative, Health Minister Ulla Schmidt, acknowledged that the move would not solve the problem of compulsive slimming among young women.
But an example could be set, in co-operation with other European countries, for the large fashion shows with their extremely thin models, she said. A recent comprehensive survey by Germanyâ€™s Robert Koch Institute found that around 22% of youngsters aged 11 to 17 suffer from some form of eating disorder.
In boys, the rate then falls off, while among girls it rises to 30% at the age of 17. Schmidt called the numbers “shocking”.
Von der Leyen said 90% of those affected were girls or young women. “Anorexia is overwhelmingly female and it is very youthful,” she said. â€“â€“ News24.