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Author Anna Patterson and journalist Caryn Franklin
discuss the impact anorexia has on people's lives
 real 56k

Thursday, 24 May, 2001, 09:43 GMT 10:43 UK
Anorexia websites 'glamorise thinness'
Young woman
Anorexics are using the websites to get tips on starving themselves
Anorexics are using websites to encourage each other to lose even more weight.

Experts say anorexics are setting up their own websites, detailing their calorie intakes and weight loss.

The sites also feature pictures of excessively thin people and tips on how to starve yourself without anyone noticing.

Former clothes show host and fashion industry expert Caryn Franklin said other anorexics then log on to the sites and use the "handy tips" for losing weight.

They are using those pages to some extent as a glamorised diary

Caryn Franklin

Club atmosphere

She told the BBC that for many the sites were a way of keeping in touch with others with the same problems and gave them the feeling of 'joining a club'.

"These websites are done very professionally.

"They are using those pages to some extent as a glamorised diary."

Anna Paterson
Anna Paterson admits her weight dropped dangerously low

"They are celebrating their thinness.

"Certainly the problem is that if a young woman is vulnerable and is surfing the web she must think she has found a club."

Weight loss

Former anorexic and author Anna Paterson said these websites and some of those for recovering anorexics could be very dangerous.

She said they encouraged people in a spiral of weight loss and allowed them to compete against each other.

She said that she had not had access to the internet while and anorexic, but that if she had these were the sort of websites she would have been surfing.

Anna Paterson has written a book about her experiences and is pictured on the cover

She said many girls had contacted her and told her they were using the sites.

"A lot of girls who write to me spend 24 hours on the net just going from one site to another."

Ms Paterson has written a book about her experiences as an anorexic.

She said that her weight had slumped dangerously low, leaving her body seriously emaciated.

"Doctors did say to me I probably had three hours to live at one point," she said.

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See also:

20 Dec 00 | Medical notes
Eating disorders
30 May 00 | Health
Anorexia: A case history
30 May 00 | Health
Models link to teenage anorexia
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