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Model agency scouts eating disorder clinic, a new low for the fashion industry

Model agents scouting for a new talent by skulking around outside an eating disorder clinic sounds like a sick joke, right? Sadly, it's not. Reports from Sweden sure that this is exactly what is happening, as unscrupulous scouts for top model agencies seek to find the youngest, thinnest models that they can. Despite the fact that there has been an outcry over the last few years about the lack of representation of more realistic womanly figures, the fashion industry seems hell bent on displaying unhealthy, malnourished figures as some sort of an ideal and something that young women should aspire to.

It's no wonder, that more and more teenage girls are seeking help for eating disorders. Eating disorders are a compulsive behaviour and can often be treated successfully with a rehabilitation programme similar to one that treats addiction. There are many different types of eating disorders, but all are recognised as psychological conditions. Quite often someone suffering from one of these debilitating disorders will also suffer from body dysmorphia-where their self image and what they see in the mirror is very much at odds with the reality. This is why so many anorexics think that they are fat, and bulimics will continue to binge and purge even when they have no weight to lose.

Eating disorders are practically encouraged within them modelling industry, where competition is high and being just a pound to heavier than the next model can mean that they get the job. The supermodel Kate Moss once famously said "Nothing tastes as good as being thin," and too many young girls these days seem to be taking this maxim to heart. It's all very well for these highly paid supermodels to choose to exist on coffee and cigarettes but they shouldn't be held as role models for young women of today. A healthy figure gained by exercise and eating sensibly will always be more attractive than an emaciated, slack skinned form kept going by fresh air and nicotine. There are so many more positive role models such as team GB's amazing Olympians such as Jessica Ennis and Victoria Pendleton who maintain their figures in a much healthier fashion.

Eating disorders, much like addictions, are regarded as a progressive disease-i.e. one that cannot be cured but can be treated. By learning to manage destructive eating habits, the condition can be overcome if the sufferer truly wants to get better. This may take some time, and in many cases it will be a case of not just building up physical health if the body has suffered malnourishment, but addressing the mental health issues behind the eating disorder. Residential rehabilitation facilities are one of the best places to recover from an eating disorder and certainly shouldn't be targeted by model agencies.

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