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Information, Advice and sources of support for young people in Suffolk


“Young people who suffer from an eating disorder like anorexia can be more vulnerable online than other users.”

What is pro-ed or pro-ana?

Pro-ana (pro-anorexia) or pro-ed (pro-eating disorders) websites or ‘thinspiration’ blogs and Facebook pages are online communities where people with eating disorders go to post pictures of themselves and share tips for losing weight.

These can be really harmful and negative places for young people.

The internet and pro-ed sites are a double-edged sword

Users often do not feel that there is anywhere else they can go for support and turn to these communities.

They can offer you emotional support and advice about how to cope with cyberbullying and the feelings of isolation that you may be feeling, but they also make it seem like not eating or having an eating disorder is a good thing- when it isn’t.

21% of young people in Europe admit to viewing pro-eating disorder websites

2012, Virtually Anorexic – Where’s The Harm report by Dr Emma Bond, UCS

“What’s the problem with visiting these sites?”

Visiting pro-eating disorder websites can cause even more issues if you are struggling with mental health issues around food and diet.

We know from research conducted with young people who have an eating disorder that visiting websites made them more likely to over-exercise and continue to lose weight.

Pro-eating disorder websites are often set up and maintained by young people and this may place the users of the sites at risk in another way. Without the security procedures that professional websites have in place, as a user you are vulnerable to having your information and pictures stolen and shared.

In some cases pictures have been lifted from pro-ana websites and used by other people to create images for cyberbullying and pornography.

If your images have been stolen for use in pornography then you should report it now at: 

‘Holding hands’ image

Where can I find support?

Eating disorders are dangerous and cause serious harm to our bodies so it’s really important that you get urgent support to find healthier ways of dealing with your feelings. Find support on our Eating disorders advice page.

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Page updated on September 25th, 2023 at 07:53pm