Last updated on Nov 4th, 2015 at 02:24 pm

The fashion industry has been lambasted for its controversial obsession with size zero

Size zero is a womanâ??s clothing size in the US system equivalent to a UK size 4 but in fashion circles it has more to do with the low body mass of models. The waist measurement for size zero is 60 cm, the average girth of an 8 year old girl.

Stick thin size zero models have been lambasted for promoting an image that possibly encourages eating disorders in girls between the ages of 15-24, the group most vulnerable to societal and psychological pressures.

The â??size zeroâ?? concept gained notoriety when model Luisel Ramos collapsed on a runway during Uruguayâ??s Fashion Week in 2006, the result of heart failure due to starvation. In November of the same year, Brazilian Ana Carolina Reston died from complications incurred by anorexia. After attempting to survive for months on only apples and tomatoes, the 21-year-old weighed 42 kgâ??s at the time of her death, heavily underweight for her 1.8m tall frame.

Models with a BMI below 18 prohibited from participating in Fashion Week

As a result of the deaths, organizers of Madrid Fashion Week 2006 prohibited models with a Body Mass Index below 18 from participating in the event. A Body Mass Index below 18 is classified as underweight by the World Health Organisation, but the average catwalk model has a BMI of only 14-16.

Subscribe to our Free Daily All4Women Newsletter to enter

Isabelle Caro, the woman appearing in the photo, was anorexic for 15 years, weighed 31 kg’s and suffered from psoriasis at the time this photograph was taken. Used to advertise fashion group Flash&Partners’s clothing brand Nolita, are the words: “No Anorexia”.
The picture was shot by the controversial Italian photographer Oliviero Toscani, who in 1992 photographed a man dying of AIDS for a campaign for clothing group Benetton.

Surely no one can be that skinny naturally? Incredibly, these women manage to survive on a meagre diet of 500 calories a day instead of the 2,000 calories a normal woman needs to maintain her weight, literally starving themselves to death.

Being dangerously thin is extremely detrimental to womenâ??s health

Striving for the ultimate dress size is not without risk and being this dangerously thin triggers a host of side-effects which includes migraines, extreme constipation, low libido, depression, insomnia, mood swings, a loss of periods, hair falling out, dry skin and thinning bones.

Mineral levels and infection fighting white blood cells are eventually depleted, compromising the immune system and causing irreversible damage.

UK bemoans the unfeasibility of banning dangerously thin models from catwalkâ??s

Despite leading design houses and fashion organizations uniting to ban dangerously thin models from fashion week catwalkâ??s, a recent move by the UK has bemoaned the unfeasibility of such efforts.

The British Fashion Council, which runs London Fashion Week, stated this month that it will not demand health certificates proving models do not have anorexia. Impracticalities in implementing the annual checks is a sense of discrimination towards models and a major lack of support from industry bodies in other fashion capitals such as New York, Paris and Milan.