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Spain Launches Movement Against Skinny Fashion Models

When the Spanish capital Madrid decided to replace the thin beauty ideal with that of curvy "real" women, it was the kind of move that millions of women// around the world appeared to have silently waited for.

Madrid's measures to ban very skinny fashion models and to promote healthy images of beauty and eating habits have sparked widespread international interest, a spokesman for the regional government says.

"Media from as far as South Korea, Australia, the US and Argentina have contacted us," the spokesman told the DPA.

A decision by Madrid's top fashion show to exclude very thin models has been imitated by shows in Milan, London, New York and the Spanish cities of Barcelona and Valencia, though they have not adopted rules as strict as those in Madrid, he explained.

"We are pioneers" in what is evolving into an international movement, the spokesman says.

The first step was taken by the Pasarela Cibeles, Madrid's top fashion show is in September.

The show excluded five would-be models for being too thin, setting the minimum body mass index - calculated on a height-weight ratio - for models at 18.

A model measuring 1.75 metres, for instance, must thus weigh at least 56 kg. That corresponds to the minimum level set by the World Health Organization (WHO) for a person to be considered healthy.

The Pasarela Cibeles repeated the move in February. A very slim person was likelier to develop diseases, nutrition expert Susana Monereo said on announcing the exclusion of five models.

Despite initial criticism, the policy of the Pasarela Cibeles is "now being accepted" on the international level, said Leonor Perez Pita, director of the fashion show.

"The fact that the world's main fashion shows have followed our initiative shows that there is already a consciousness of the seriousness of the problem" of eating disorders, Madrid Regional Prime Minister Esperan
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