Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Unfortunately, throughout time people tried to redefine the term associating it with the idea of achingly slim silhouettes. Super-skinny models seen on fashion runways and on the pages of glossy magazines became the prototype of perfection and ultimate beauty for young girls around the world. However, the sad thing is that most of these models meet the body mass index criteria for anorexia according to PLUS Model magazine.

In order to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry, Vogue publisher Condé Nast International launches The Health Initiative. “Vogue believes that good health is beautiful,” Jonathan Newhouse, chairman of Condé Nast International, said in a statement via the BBC. “Vogue editors around the world want the magazines to reflect their commitment to the health of the models who appear on the pages and the wellbeing of their readers,” he continued.

Editor Alexandra Shulman explains in her editor’s letter in the British Vogue that, “As one of the fashion industry’s most powerful voices, Vogue has a unique opportunity to engage with relevant issues where we feel we can make a difference.” She next adds that the Initiative will “build on the successful work that the Council of Fashion Designers of America with the support of American Vogue in the US and the British Fashion Council in the UK have already begun to encourage a healthier approach to body image within the industry”.

Daria Werbowy for Vogue Australia June 2012

The Health Initiative is a six-point agreement between the 19 international editors of Vogue wanting to promote a different, more positive body image not just in their magazine but in the fashion industry as a whole. Well, we couldn’t be more supportive of this plan and hopefully people end up realizing that beauty means health and that irresponsible dieting can have dangerous consequences.

According to WWD, the pact says that the editors will not knowingly work with models under 16 or who appear to have an eating disorder and they will ask casting directors not to knowingly send underage models to their magazines. Moreover, they will help structure mentoring programs so that more mature models can advise their younger counterparts, will encourage designers to “consider the consequences of unrealistically small sample sizes,” and they will encourage show producers to create healthy backstage working environments for models.

Among the editors of Vogue signing up the agreement are Emmanuelle Alt of Vogue Paris, Alexandra Shulman of Vogue U.K., Kirtsie Clements of Vogue Australia, Mitsuko Watanabe of Vogue Japan and Anna Wintour of American Vogue, along with editors of newer Vogue editions including China, India, Mexico, Turkey and the Netherlands.

Eighteen editions of Vogue are set to launch The Health Initiative in their June issues, while Vogue Japan will begin in its July issue. In order to stand up for this cause, Vogue UK June 2012 discusses women’s attitudes to nutrition and talks to models Lily Cole and Adriana Lima. Vogue Australia interviews model agent Chelsea Bonner about the importance of championing more realistic body shapes. Besides, they also want to hear from ex-supermodel Carré Otis about her “frightening struggles with anorexia and bulimia when she was supposedly at the top of her game.”

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012 RTW

Photos courtesy of VOGUE Australia; VOGUE