Even healthy young women feel worse about themselves and their appearance after viewing pro-anorexic Web sites, according to a new study reported by Reuters.
So-called "pro-ana" Web sites have long been a problem and have been the subject of more than one television shows. The sites encourage and offer tips to women on how to become "ultra-thin" and anorexic.
Dr. Anna M. Bardone-Cone of the University of Missouri in Columbia and her colleague Kamila M. Cass conducted the study and, based on their findings, suggested that parents take steps to prevent their children from viewing such sites, by blocking access to them and by keeping any household computers in open areas so they can supervise their use.
For the study, Bardone-Cone and Cass created a "prototypic" pro-ana website, and randomly assigned 235 female college students to view that site, a fashion Web site featuring normal-weight models, or a site on home decor.
After looking at the anorexia-promoting site, young women had worse moods, worse social self-esteem, and felt worse about their appearance regardless of whether they were thin, over-weight or identified themselves as having an eating disorder.