England

'Down to the bone' model Rosie Nelson calls for better healthcare

Rosie Nelson Image copyright Rob Crawford
Image caption Model Rosie Nelson was a size eight but was asked to lose weight by a top modelling agency in the UK

A model who was asked to slim "down to the bone" has handed a petition to the government calling for better healthcare in the modelling industry.

Rosie Nelson was 21 years old and a size eight when she was told by a top agency to slim down further.

She said she was "really excited" that her 113,000-signature campaign had attracted so much support.

Ms Nelson will give evidence at a parliamentary inquiry into modelling and health issues, which begins later.

Image caption Rosie Nelson handed her petition into 10 Downing Street

MP Caroline Nokes, chair of an all party parliamentary group on body image, launched the inquiry after supporting Ms Nelson's campaign.

She said they would discuss whether government legislation could be necessary to ensure models were not forced to become "unhealthily thin", and will hear evidence from industry professionals.

Other countries including France and Italy have already legislated in this area, with France creating rules about a minimum body mass index for models and Italy demanding health certificates.

Ms Nelson, from Sandhurst, Berkshire, said she lost almost a stone in weight after being told by an agency to slim.

She said: "When I returned to the same agency they told me to lose more weight, they wanted me 'down to the bone'".

Image copyright Rob Crawford
Image caption Rosie Nelson's petition has attracted more than 100,000 signatures

She said she wants to see tighter checks on a model's health: "If a model is being asked to lose weight, she can go to a doctor and say 'I need to get down to 35 inch hips' and the doctor can then say you can lose weight this way'.

"Some girls are doing really drastic things to lose weight, they're eating cotton [wool], they're eating only popcorn."

Ms Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, said: "Firstly we want the girls working in the fashion industry to be healthy.

"Secondly we want them to be good role models and we want images that young people see in advertising and on the catwalk to be of healthy positive young women."

The Association of Model Agencies (AMA) said its members train staff to recognise symptoms of eating disorders.

Its code of practice states "AMA members have worked with a number of professional bodies to help agents identify models who may be in need of specific advice and support on particular health issues."

The inquiry is open to the public and a report will be published early in the new year.

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