Australia has moved to ban ultra-skinny models from catwalks and magazines under a new code of conduct announced yesterday.

And New Zealand's Minister of Youth Affairs Paula Bennett says she will look into the issue of stick-thin models having a negative influence on youngsters here.

Australian Federal Youth Minister Kate Ellis announced the move in Sydney in a bid to help reinforce positive body images for young Australians.

The initiative encourages those in the fashion and beauty industries to refrain from using super-thin models on the catwalk and digitally-enhancing images in magazines to make models appear even skinnier.

The code, which is not compulsory, also calls for fashion magazines to stop advertising rapid weight-loss diets and cosmetic surgery.

Editorial content that may promote a negative body image is also a no-no.

Ms Bennett last night said although the subject had not officially been raised, it was something she would be keeping a close eye on.

"What we've been looking at is a more general thing into health issues.

"[But] I have a real concern with our young people and sort of how they handle these hormonal years and issues like body image."

Ms Bennett said many principals and youth organisations had raised concerns including eating disorders among youngsters.

She applauded the move taken in Australia.

The Australian code also encourages only using models aged 16 and over, with retailers and brands also being urged to provide a greater variety of sizes in clothing.

Ms Ellis said the move would let those in the fashion and beauty industries know customers "no longer want to see already thin models who have great chunks digitally removed and cut out of their thighs and waists to appear even thinner.

"The government is encouraging industry leadership, genuine commitment and real action to support positive body image," she said.

Auckland Women's Health Council co-ordinator Lynda Williams also applauded the move across the ditch and said it was time for the New Zealand Government to do the same.

"The Government is always a bit wussier when it comes to issues like this," Ms Williams said.

"It's all very well insisting that models be much more healthier-looking, but when they go and airbrush them to be even thinner - no, there definitely needs to be rules put in place."