Docs Demand Crackdown on Pro-Anorexia Websites

Websites offer 'thinspiration' to anorexic, bulimic teens
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2009 1:51 AM CDT
Two young women walk past an anti-anorexia ad in Milan, Italy.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
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(Newser) – Doctors are calling for urgent action to combat the growing number of websites promoting eating disorders as a lifestyle choice, the Independent reports. The sites encourage young women to become anorexic and bulimic, doctors warn, offering tips on how to deal with the pain of extreme hunger during starvation and how to conceal excessive weight loss from families and doctors. Extremely thin models are pictured as "thinspiration."

Britain's Royal College of Psychiatrists says that one in 10 adolescent girls look at such websites repeatedly. "This is not a rare problem; it affects a significant number of schoolchildren," warned the head of the college's eating disorders unit. "Studies have shown that girls who looked at these sites have low self-esteem, feel bad about their bodies and are miserable." The RCP urged the government to mark such sites as harmful and step up education efforts .