Model Ana Carolina Reston, who died from a generalized infection caused by anorexia (Reuters)
Model Ana Carolina Reston, who died from a generalised infection caused by anorexia (Reuters)

Modelling agencies in Sweden have been targeting potential new talent by approaching young women outside Stockholm's largest anorexia clinic, it has been claimed.

Dr Anna-Maria af Sandeberg said that scouts have been targeting women as they enter the Stockholm Center for Eating Disorders because the girls are "very thin".

According to Swedish newspaper Metro, one of the girls who was approached by scouts was so ill she was in a wheelchair.

The incidents became such an issue last year that the clinic was forced to change its procedures for the walks its patients take outside the clinic, according to the Local.

Many of the girls approached last year were teenagers and some had a body mass index of as low as 14. A healthy BMI for a woman is between 18.5 and 24.9 for an adult woman.

Sandeberg described the approach from modelling agencies as "repugnant".

She added: "People have stood outside our clinic and tried to pick up our girls because they know they are very thin.

"It sends the wrong signals when the girls are being treated for eating disorders."

Christina Lillman-Ring Borg, care coordinator at the clinic, added: "It is awful. Part of the disease is that you have a distorted body image, and you get a sudden flattery and a job offer. It does not facilitate the treatment of the disease."

Care coordinator Chistina Lillman-Ringborg told the TT news agency: "They claimed that they approach healthy, normally slim young people and that they never urge anyone to lose weight; that's how they defended themselves."

The Stockholm Center for Eating Disorders can hold up to 1,700 patients.  

Recently, Longtime Vogue Australia Editor Kirstie Clements was fired in May after 25 years of service at the magazine, released a tell-all book called "The Vogue Factor," an insider's view that exposes, unashamedly, the cutthroat and chaotic facade behind the glossy covers of a leading magazine.

In her new book, Clements claims models  regularly starve themselves to stay super skinny and some resort to eating tissues to help them feel full. Clements quotes an unnamed Russian model who told her over lunch that her roommate was a fit model, "so she is in hospital on a drip a lot of the time." A fit model, Clements says, is the body used by top designers and ateliers around which the clothes are designed.

Clements, who was Vogue Australia's top editor for 13 years, recounts on one occasion she didn't once see a top model eat a single meal on a three-day gig. Even worse, Clements recounted that on the last day of the job, the model could hardly hold herself up or keep her eyes open.