twitter facebook stumble upon rss

Pro-Eating-Disorder Websites Can Be Lethal

sign up for the momlogic newsletter Tweet This

Maggie Baumann, MA: As someone with a past history of anorexia, I remember going online to seek information about eating disorders. I could do it in the privacy of my home, it's anonymous and it was a way for me to understand the disease I had (or was trying to accept I had). During my "surfing" expeditions for information, I only looked at pro-recovery websites (such as SomethingFishy.com).

painfully_thin_girls.jpg

However, some people with eating disorders veer away from the recovery sites and go to sites that actually promote eating disorders. In the Internet world of eating disorders, these sites are called "Pro-Ana" (pro-anorexia) and "Pro-Mia" (pro-bulimia).

Pro-Ana/-Mia sites form a special "supportive" community within themselves, providing extreme dieting and exercise tips and "dangerous weight-loss secrets" designed to help readers achieve extremely thin or skeletal appearances. On many of the sites, you'll see the active promotion of "thinspiration" -- a catchall term used to describe the emaciated images of models, celebrities and regular people that serve to encourage readers in their own extreme weight-loss efforts.

Pro-Ana/-Mia sites were featured this morning on "Today":


According to the National Eating Disorder Awareness Association (NEDA), a national organization that focuses on the prevention, treatment and awareness of eating disorders, a recent study estimated that Pro-Ana/-Mia websites outnumber pro-recovery sites at a ratio of 5 to 1. These sites started popping up in the early days of the Internet; by 2001, they were becoming increasingly visible. Due to public pressure, Yahoo! and many other site hosts starting shutting down existing Pro-Ana/-Mia sites, and banned new ones. However, the sites continued popping up under the radar screen of those attempting to shut them down.

NEDA states, "The sites show pictures of very thin supermodels, or 'thinspiration' intended to invoke the desire to lose more weight. They encourage the behavior through chat rooms, poems, weight-loss diaries and personal stories. Although most of these sites give explicit warnings that they are Pro-Ana or Pro-Mia and may contain triggers for relapse, it is still very important to be aware of them, because they may pose a threat to anyone who is in recovery. Many of these sites are transient, and new ones emerge as older sites disappear online."

A recent NEDA press release pointed out that the Internet is public domain, meaning that users have free rein to post content and create websites on whatever topics they choose, no matter how harmful or dangerous.

What Moms Can Do
If you are a mom obsessing over your weight and modeling poor body image for your daughter (or son), know that your actions are being noticed and watched. If you focus on your child's looks or promote dieting, these acts increase anxiety in your child and lower her self-esteem. These are the types of kids who can be more at risk of developing an eating disorder and coming into contact with Pro-Ana/-Mia sites.

Communicate with your children about eating disorders and the dangers that go along with them. Eat together as a family (eating well-balanced meals), and engage in healthy exercise together. If you are a mom with negative body-image or eating issues, seek help from a counselor. You can find an expert eating-disorder therapist in your area by clicking this link.

If you suspect your child has an eating disorder, take action immediately. Seek help from a qualified therapist. If you notice that your child is already visiting Pro-Ana/-Mia sites, you can almost be certain that he or she is already actively using eating-disorder behaviors.

A final tip? Keep your computers in a common open space in your house. Don't let your children isolate themselves in their rooms, where there's no adult supervision.

For more information on eating-disorder prevention, awareness and treatment, visit the NEDA site or Eating Disorder Hope.


next: Back-to-School Savings! Act Fast!
38 comments so far | Post a comment now
payday loans no credit check December 14, 2010, 10:23 AM

I’ve recently started a blog, the data you provide on this internet site has reduced the problem tremendously. Appreciation for all your time & work…

payday loans in georgia December 14, 2010, 11:59 AM

Hi just thought i’d personally explain something.. That is twice now i’ve landed on your blog within the last few 25 days in search of totally unrelated things. Spooky or what?

online payday loans December 14, 2010, 2:12 PM

Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your websiteis so cool.I’m astounded by the main points that you’ve for this blog. It reveals how nicely you perceive this subject. Bookmarked this web page, should come backfor extra articles. You, my mate, ROCK! I discovered this can be the info I already searched in all places and merely couldn?t encounter. Such a ideal website. I like this web internet site along with your website will probably be certainly one of my new favorite ones.I’m keen on this fabulous website given and it has given me some kind of dedication achievement for a few purpose, so thanks

Non IM Riches Bonus December 16, 2010, 4:48 AM

Wow! This can be the very first time that I noticed an individual create this kind of an incredible article on that offered subject. I truly recognize your efforts! Maintain on undertaking this kind of a great position mate!

insurance india December 17, 2010, 1:11 PM

Another Very interesting blog post. shared it to my friends.

thomas sabo charms December 20, 2010, 4:57 PM

Awesome article, I am regular visitor of this website, keep up the good work, and I will be a regular visitor for a very long time.

Jaylene December 21, 2010, 9:08 AM

fantastic collection. Thanks :)

cash payday loans December 25, 2010, 2:21 PM

Easily i am not against everything you saying but i can exclude that you’re not valid within this issue. Why on earth man convertd much in course of time? Can’t we merely coincide on all causes? We’d comparable condition in our business.Decoding the condition want some concentrated analysis

cash payday loans December 25, 2010, 3:04 PM

To be sure along with your thoughts here and I really love your website! I’ve bookmarked it in order that I am able to revisit & read more down the road.

fast cash advance December 25, 2010, 4:40 PM

I’ve recently started a blog, the details you provide on this site has reduced the problem tremendously. We appreciate you all of your time & work…

easy payday loans December 25, 2010, 6:08 PM

Kudos for posting a really useful weblog. Your blog isn’t only informative but in addition very artistic too. There are frequently very handful of people who can write low number of simple articles that creatively. Carry on the favorable writing !!

cash advances payday loans December 25, 2010, 8:13 PM

Intriguing article. I know I’m a bit late in posting my comment though the article ended up being the idea and the information I’d been trying to find. I can’t say i always believe all you mentioned but it really was emphatically fascinating! BTW…I found your site by way of a Google search. I’m a frequent visitor to your blog and will return again soon.

Marty Williams December 29, 2010, 7:44 AM

Thanks for the awesome post, I loved reading it!

Marissa Smith December 31, 2010, 7:32 PM

Thanks for the great post! I will be sure to subscribe to your updates from now on.

cura slabire January 3, 2011, 11:32 PM

I have beeing after the Internet for this info and just wanted to thank u for this post. BTW, just off topic, where can i find a copy of this theme? – Thank you

Unlock iPhone 4G January 14, 2011, 9:24 AM

Awsome info and straight to the point. I am not sure if this is truly the best place to ask but do you people have any ideea where to employ some professional writers? Thanks in advance :)

William Liapis January 25, 2011, 10:03 PM

Some genuinely superb posts on this website,appreciate it for contribution.

teacup pigs for sale california February 8, 2011, 12:36 PM

The Internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect.


Back to top >>
advertisement