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EATING DISORDERS ON THE INTERNET

In the past couple of years, a new trend has been emerging in the Internet. A growing number of chat rooms and web sites are flourishing, dedicated to teens that are celebrating their eating disorders. Within these sites participants share their tips and strategies for losing weight and exercising. It's a trend that worries and disturbs eating-disorder experts.

From a recent article published by Nancy Hellmich: “These sites don't make sense in terms of getting well," says Bob Berkowitz, medical director of the Weight and Eating Disorders Program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. "Instead of a support group to get better, this is kind of a support system to stay sick. It's like recovering alcoholics going to a bar together.”

"The scary thing is people can get quite sick and even die from anorexia nervosa."

The participants in pro-anorexia online discussions talk about how important it is to have friends who are like them. They also discuss how to hide their weight loss from family and friends, how to use laxatives and how to make themselves purge. By referring to Anorexia as “my Ana, my love,” it is obvious the teens have no intentions of finding help for their disease.

Yahoo and MSN are taking measures to terminate many of these web sites but it is long process. When participants log on to these web sites,they are reminded that the material and images are not endorsed by MSN or YAHOO.

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