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Sun Dec 2, 2012, 02:35 PM

Virtually Anorexic – Where’s the harm? A research study on the risks of pro-anorexia websites

1.1. This document outlines the main findings from the research study ‘Virtually anorexic: Where’s the harm?’ which Dr. Emma Bond, Senior Lecturer in the department of Applied Social Sciences at University Campus Suffolk undertook between January –June 2012 in partnership with Beat1 and Childnet international.2 The study was funded by Nominet Trust.3 The research aimed to gain knowledge and understanding of pro-anorexia sites and online communities and to provide a review of the risks in relation to young people’s use of pro-anorexia (pro-ana) and pro-eating disorder (pro-ED) sites.

1.2. This study is significant as health related sites and discussion forums enable people all over the world to communicate on a particular topic or shared interest.4 However, there is a lack of evidence-based online health information related to eating disorders which places adolescents and their families at risk of obtaining inadequate information regarding the clinical characteristics and treatment options available.

1.3. This study does not only focus on risks to adolescents. According to Mind (the leading mental health charity for England and Wales), 1 in 100 women aged between 15 and 30 in the UK suffer from anorexia and recent reports show some girls as young as five years of age have weight concerns, and think about going on a diet. Anorexia Nervosa (AN) is most likely to strike during the mid-teenage years and it affects approximately 1 in 150 fifteen-year-old females, and 1 in 1000 fifteen-year-old males.

1.4. There are increasing concerns over the number and availability of pro-ana and pro-ED sites on the Internet yet little is known about why people use them, what they use them for and whether or not they are contributing to either the anorexic condition or the pro-ana phenomenon. It is well acknowledged that people use new media technologies for both risk management and risk-taking behaviours to achieve identity as individuals and as members of cultural groups in both offline and online environments.


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Reply Virtually Anorexic – Where’s the harm? A research study on the risks of pro-anorexia websites (Original post)
AlphaCentauri Dec 2012 OP
Warpy Dec 2012 #1
MineralMan Dec 2012 #2

Response to AlphaCentauri (Original post)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 04:01 PM

1. True anorexia is a brain disorder that kills.

Sites that try to legitimize it as a lifestyle choice are deceptive at best and completely unethical.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 2, 2012, 04:10 PM

2. Yes, and links to pro ana sites consistently get hidden by juries.

As they should be.

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