Preteens and Young Adults Continue to Starve Themselves reports Prenatal Nutrition
Hundreds of pro-anorexia sites located, as eating disorder problem grows
There are now somewhere between 400 and 500 websites that promote anorexia and related eating disorders. The sites are visited by throngs of young women each day, and have now been identified in a new review of the phenomenon.
The sites tell girls how to remain dangerously thing, promote 400-calorie diets (1,200 is the bare minimum required for proper body function) and ideas that are often backed include coffee, cigarettes, and diet pills.
The sites continuously push “starving for perfection” featuring pictures of anemic celebrities like Kira Knightly and Victoria Beckham as “thinspirations”.
In twelve months, more than 500,000 individuals have visited the sites, according to a study done by a 2011 EU research group. More than one-in-six 11-year-olds have been exposed to such sites that contain “harmful content”, according to the study.
Dr. Emma Bond, a senior lecturer in childhood and youth studies at the University Campus Suffolk, Ipswich, who has carried out a review, stated that sides were up by individuals who also had eating disorders. She stated the sites carry an almost religious intensity, and there appears to be no true commercial involvement.
“It starts with an individual who wants to share their experience and as they get a following they set themselves up as almost Goddess-like,” she said. “When I started this research last January I came across a website set up by a girl who was disgusted with herself because she had put on a few pounds at Christmas. She planned to fast for three days and regain control.
“In under two hours, she had 36 followers saying things like ‘You’re wonderful, you’re an inspiration to me, I’m only fasting because of you’.”
Beyond the sites themselves are thousands of blogs by individual who use sites like YouTube and Tumblr. These sites and channels often contain sexualized images of scantily clad and unrealistically thin Hollywood and European model types, says Bond.
“Girls are posting images of themselves and are then approached by people who want to sell them on porn sites because there is a market for ‘skinny porn’. But the girls are unaware they are being looked at for sexual gratification.
“Some of the websites are works of art in themselves, very beautiful with illustrations, clips of film and letters and poems to ‘Ana’. To a vulnerable teenager they appear lovely, pretty and attractive and give a sense of belonging. But they have a gruesome side too.”
Two of the most disturbing characteristics of the sites and young women involved is the starving (purging) lengths the individuals will fall to, as well as the competitive nature of the “ana-buddies”.
Anorexia begins in adolescence in a majority of cases, and affects 1-2% of teenagers, according to studies. Says Dr. Bond, ““Eating disorders are not going away, if anything they are becoming more common.”
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