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Vogue magazine editors pledge to use 'healthy' models

Vogue's May 2012 front cover
Image caption Vogue's decision has been praised as an "evolution" of the industry

The 19 editors of the global editions of fashion magazine Vogue have pledged to work with only "healthy" models.

"Vogue believes that good health is beautiful," Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Conde Nast International, Vogue's publishers, said in a statement.

The editors have agreed to "not knowingly work with models under the age of 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder," the statement said.

Casting directors will also be asked to check models' IDs at photo shoots.

The editors have also promised to encourage "healthy backstage working conditions", including food options.

"Vogue editors around the world want the magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the wellbeing of their readers," Mr Newhouse said.

In its statement the group recognised that there were "pressing issues relating to ill-health in the industry" and that models serve as role models for "many women".

'Evolution' in industry

It said it would seek to ensure that those in its pages were "well cared-for and educated in ways that will encourage and help them to take care of themselves".

Former model Sara Ziff welcomed the move.

"Most editions of Vogue regularly hire models who are minors, so for Vogue to commit to no longer using models under the age of 16 marks an evolution in the industry," she told the Associated Press news agency.

The US, French, Chinese and British editions of the magazine are among those that will start following the new guidelines with their June issues.

In 2009, Vogue's UK editor Alexandra Shulman criticised fashion houses for sending sample clothes too small for many models to wear.

In the magazine house's statement, Vogue editors said they would encourage designers "to consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes of their clothing, which limits the range of women who can be photographed in their clothes, and encourages the use of extremely thin models".

Until now, the focus around the weight of fashion models has been towards those who model on the catwalk, rather than in magazines, following the death of two models from what appeared to be complications relating to eating disorders in 2006 and 2007.

London Fashion Week designers have signed a contract with the British Fashion Council to use models who are at least 16 years of age and, in Italy and Spain, the main fashion bodies have banned catwalk models who fall below a certain Body Mass Index level.

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