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Pro-ana, short for pro-anorexia

Pro-ana, short for pro-anorexia, stands for support groups for a potentially life-threatening lifestyle disorder. At a time when so much information is available against anorexia, some straight from the anorexics, it is a sad fact that pro-ana is attracting an increasing number of teenage girls who believe that taking to extreme dieting or inducing eating disorders will cause them to lose weight more effectively.

Recently, the increasing presence of pro-ana groups on social networking sites has many people up in the arms, even though the networking sites refuse to take any responsibility for this.

The medical fraternity has been constantly warning that pro-ana glamourises and glorifies a serious illness -- suicide rates are particularly high among anorexia sufferers as it can lead to a poor self image, depression and sense of failure, among other things.

B-eat, the Eating Disorders Association of the United Kingdom, has explicitly stated that "anorexia and bulimia are dangerous activities and people can be encouraged to copy them." However, it also said that a lot of people who access these sites do so to find support and acceptance, not just to learn tips of losing weight or share thininspiration - pictures of extremely thin celebrities posted on these sites.

But the truth is these sites provide more encouragement to anorexic attitude rather than emotional support or treatment, thereby playing directly with the psychology of the victims.

The offshoot of this is that there is a competition among these sites -- as well as a solidarity -- to provide more drastic and often more dangerous methods of losing weight.

Anorexia is now spreading to developing countries brings home the fact that it is time to take some serious measures to spread awareness against the disorder.

Source : Gulf Today
Posted : 15/03/2008

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