Ultra-thin models have been banned in France.

French MPs have passed a new law that requires all models to have a BMI of at least 18; a weight of around 8st 9lbs for a person about 5ft 7in tall.

Any agents or fashion companies that hire models with lower BMIs face fines of up to £55,000 and possible prison sentences of six months.

In a separate law passed in France's National Assembly lower house - and also subject to approval from the Senate - websites that advocate dangerous weight loss were also banned. It's thought 40,000 people suffer from anorexia in France, nine out of ten of whom are women and girls.

Not everyone agrees with the new laws.

Isabelle Saint-Felix, the head of France's National Union of Modelling Agencies, said: "When you look at the criteria behind anorexia, you can't look only at the body mass index when other criteria are also involved: psychological, a history of hair loss, dental problems.

"It's important that the models are healthy, but it's a little simplistic to think there won't be any more anorexics if we get rid of very thin models."

But French health minister Marisol insisted said: "This is an important message to young women who see these models as an aesthetic example."

(Picture: Getty/file)

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