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Model Heather Marks, left, was discovered at the age of 12, while Caroline Trentini started modelling at 13. Lily Cole, far left, began working as a model at 15.

London’s fashion industry resisted pressure to ban ultra-thin models from the runways Wednesday, drawing criticism from a member of London’s city council.

The Model Health Inquiry — a panel of fashion designers and others working in the industry and an eating disorder specialist — recommended in an interim report released Wednesday that models under 16 be barred from the Fashion Week catwalk shows. It said the youngest were particularly vulnerable to eating disorders and the risk of sexual exploitation.

The report made no recommendation on ultra-thin models.

The British Fashion Council, a consortium of major fashion retailers and publishers that oversees Fashion Week, formed the panel in January to devise strategies to promote health and well-being among fashion models during the Fashion Weeks in September and February.

The organizers of Spain’s top annual fashion show decided in September 2005 not to allow women whose body mass-to-height ratio was below 18 to take part. The London panel said the body mass formula, known as the Body Mass Index, was not a foolproof way to identify eating disorders.

Dee Doocey, the culture, fashion and tourism spokeswoman on London’s city council, described the interim report as a “huge disappointment.”

“Banning weight and banning size is not going to help us,” said Adrienne Key, clinical director of Priory Hospital’s eating disorders unit and the health industry representative on the panel.