New Message to Models: Eat!

ByABC News
September 15, 2006, 3:36 PM

Sept. 15, 2006— -- Some of the world's top models may be about to be kicked off the catwalk after a recent ban on super-thin models from runways in Spain.

The ban on "skinny" models performing in shows, instituted by Madrid Fashion Week organizers after a model died during a show in South America last month, sent shivers around the world of haute.

But many people in and out of the fashion world believe the new ban is long overdue, and should have been considered even before 22-year-old Uruguayan model Luisel Ramos reportedly died of heart failure after stepping off a runway during Fashion Week in Montevideo.

The concern over the Spanish ban, which demands models have a BMI (height to weight ratio) above 18 to participate in shows, spread to the United Kingdom, where there is now questioned whether the British Council might put a similar rule in place before the upcoming London Fashion Week.

But officials from the BFC said they will not interfere with designers' choices of models.

Hilary Riva, chief executive of the BFC said in a statement that, "the BFC does not comment or interfere in the aesthetic of any designer's show."

Many suspect that some of the world's top models, from Kate Moss to Jacquetta Wheeler, will be banned if a cut off BMI of 18 in enforced.

"Naomi Campbell is one of the healthiest, buff- looking models out there," contributing ABC fashion correspondent Katrina Szish said. "People have said that she woulnd't be allowed on the runway -- even she wouldn't be in that range."

"Some people that look incredibly healthy, really aren't and vice-versa," Szish added. "It's something you can't quantify."

The average runway model is estimated to be 5 feet 9 inches tall and to weigh in at 110 lbs.-- resulting in a BMI of just 16, according to the British newspaper the Evening Standard.

Despite concerns over eating disorders in young women and teenage girls, some fashion experts feel that banning skinny models is not the answer.