Perfect skin, perfect hair and the infamous super-svelte physique: Although the beauty ideals portrayed in the fashion world today are unattainable and unhealthy, many young girls still feel the need to make themselves look like the women seen on the runways and in magazines.

Fashion show producer Kelly Cutrone said that models are “anomalies of nature. They are freaks of nature. They are not average. They are naturally thin and have incredibly long legs compared to the rest of their bodies.” Most models are between 5 feet 9 inches and 6 feet tall and rarely weigh over 120 pounds. This means that almost every model seen across the world on the runways at Fashion Week is underweight. Though many models are in their teens and may not yet be fully developed, most are still malnourished.

American fashion model Crystal Renn admitted to struggling with an eating disorder when she began modeling at only 16 years old. At the start of her career, she dealt with much criticism about her body and weight, causing her to shrink down to a mere 95 pounds. Renn then came back into the spotlight when she chose to ignore the rail-thin norm on the runways and began modeling at the plus-size level. She showed off her new figure at Jean Paul Gaultier’s spring 2006 runway show. On her weight gain, Renn said, “I don’t want young women to think being thin is the only way to be beautiful.”

Renn was even featured in V Magazine alongside slimmer model Jacquelyn Jablonski, both models showcasing some of fashion’s hottest styles. The magazine was aiming to show that high fashion can look good on bodies of all shapes and that it is not limited to super-skinny physiques. Recently, Renn has been seen in magazines and on the red carpet looking smaller than she had been in her plus-size days. Gary Dakin, Renn’s agent, said that she is currently around a size 8, after reintroducing exercise into her schedule, making her neither plus-size nor the size 2 runway model.

According to Livestrong, the average American woman over 20 years of age is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 164 pounds. Attempting to live up to these “ideals” plastered across billboards, magazines and TVs causes women of all ages to try unhealthy strategies in order to emulate what they see.

But some of those most influenced by these standards are young girls. The American research group Anorexia Nervosa & Related Eating Disorders, Inc. reports that “one out of every four college-aged women uses unhealthy methods of weight control, including fasting, skipping meals, excessive exercise, laxative abuse and self-induced vomiting.”

Additionally, a study of media’s influence on 9- to 12-year-old girls completed by Marika Tiggemann and Levina Clark of Flinders University in Australia showed that almost half of their participants “wished to be thinner, and as a result have engaged in a diet.” Young girls’ tendency to look up to the unattainable standard of beauty set by models can lead them down some unhealthy roads.

Luckily, some members of the fashion world have realized how much influence they have on women and have decided to take action. In 2006, Madrid Fashion Week decided to disallow models with a body mass index of less than 18, which is considered underweight, to walk on the runways. Also, Cindi Leive, the editor-in-chief of Glamour magazine said that, “We do not run photos of anybody in the magazine who we believe to be at an unhealthy weight. We frequently feature women of all different sizes. We all know that you can look fabulous in clothes without being a size 2.”