Model Health Inquiry - interim report (part 2)
In other major fashion centres, such as Paris and Milan, they have introduced a rule that any model with a BMI of less than 18.5 is not allowed on the catwalk. Aside from the fact that this rarely seems to be enforced, the Model Health Inquiry deemed this as inappropriate. Dr. Adrienne Key, a consultant psychiatrist on the panel explained how having a BMI lower than 18 does not necessarily make a person unhealthy. She did, however, stress the importance of regular health checks with not simply a doctor but also a psychiatrist, as a GP may not pick up on the signs of an eating disorder.
The environment in which models work needs to be improved. Not only will they suggest that good food should be on offer backstage but also that they should be demonstrably drug free and non-smoking following the recent ban.
Despite uncovering revelations about the fashion industry and deciding on ways to combat such issues occurring, a major problem facing the reports findings is the funding of these measures. Most of the ways to improve the situation need to be introduced by the British Fashion Council (BFC) but their financial sources are limited. These measures include medical tests, blood tests, enforcing guidelines, providing healthy eating workshops and creating a union.
Baroness Kingsmill, who leads the inquiry, urges a scientific study in to the working conditions of models particularly at the catwalk shows. She expressed concern about models who could often be described as having an 'unhealthy relationship with food.'
"It's a high risk profession," she explained, "and there is simply a preoccupation with thinness in western culture. It cannot all be blamed on the fashion industry, there is no single villain." Other high risk professions include professional sports, particularly ballet and horse racing both of which encounter similar health problems.
The panel discussed the possibility of government legislation and has already worked closely with the Department of Health and Department of Education but said it was not necessary for the government to regulate the industry. There were also calls for an international panel to enforce these decisions across the globe.
The inquiry continues.