By Phil Stewart
Fri Dec 22, 2:05 PM ET
ROME (Reuters) - Italy's government and its fashion chiefs signed a pact on Friday aimed at keeping models who are sickly thin off the catwalk by requiring women to show proof of their good health or risk being barred from shows.
A "manifesto" also bans the use of models who are under the age of 16, saying they risk sending the "wrong message to girls of the same age in a delicate pre-puberty phase."
"Sixty percent of teenagers in our country would like to be skinnier than they are," said Giovanna Melandri, minister for youth policy, after the Rome signing ceremony.
"This is also the consequence of the idea that the only aesthetic model is being very, very skinny."
Spain barred models below a certain weight from Madrid fashion shows in September. Earlier this month Brazil also launched a campaign to ban underage, underweight models from its catwalks in response to the death of a Brazilian model from complications due to anorexia.
However, the pact, called "The National Manifest of Self-Regulation by Italian Fashion Against Anorexia," does not spell out any sanctions and carries no legal weight.
But industry leaders at the signing promised that fashion houses would abide by the new internal regulations.
One suggested that fashion houses who broke the rules would be made to suffer, including by being knocked out of important time slots or dates at fashion events.
"So, it's about technical punishment. But these technicalities are very important in fashion," said Stefano Dominella, head of AltaRoma, which organizes Rome events.
Melandri said she recognized the manifesto would not "solve the problem" but would help.
It requires models to produce a health certificate and says those with "apparent eating disorders" will be barred from shows.
Criteria used will include body mass index -- a ratio of weight to height squared. The World Health Organization classifies women with an index of less than 18.5 as underweight.
But Italian National Fashion Chamber head Mario Boselli, whose lobby represents big names like Armani, Versace and Prada, said body mass is not always a fair indicator.
He pointed to a press report showing that super model Naomi Campbell had a body mass index below 18.
"She can model anyway. She's not anorexic and in good health," Boselli said.
"It's not that someone passes or not (because of the index). A doctor can issue a certificate. If the certificate says the girl can model, she can have lower body-mass," he added.
Weight to height squared, I'm assuming metric.
a woman who is 5 feet tall (1524cm) would have to weigh more than 125 kg (276 lb)? That doesn't seem right.
weight/(height^2) = 18.5, so (height^2)*18.5 = weight
28.194 * 18.5 = 521.589... uh, that can't be right. Half a kilogram? That's certainly underweight, but somehow I don't think it's right.
Maybe it's height in cm?
2322576 * 18.5 = 42967656... what, grams? that's over four tons, this is just getting worse.
Maybe pounds and feet?
5 feet tall:
25 * 18.5 = 462.5 lbs... nope.
Hmm... maybe it's (w/h)^2
w = h * sqrt(18.5)
(I don't have a square root on my calculator, so let's just use 4.3)
w = 1524 * 4.3 = 6553.2... like 14 lbs. I don't think so.
What am I missing here?