Images digitally altered to make models look thinner must carry a warning under French law from today (Sunday).

The practice of doctoring photographs for fashion magazines has become a health issue in a country that has 600,000 people with eating disorders, the health ministry says.

Any publication of digitally edited or airbrushed material not clearly labelled as "photographie retouchée" will be fined a minimum of £33,000 (NZD $61,761).

The authorities hope to prevent people trying to emulate the unrealistic body shapes forged using computer programmes.

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Marisol Touraine, who introduced the legislation when she was health minister, said it was intended "to avoid promoting inaccessible ideals of beauty and to prevent anorexia among young people."

France already compels models to have GP certification to prove they have a healthy body mass index.

Getty Images, a picture agency, has said from today it will bans retouching of images.

- The Sunday Telegraph