Thinspiration blogs slammed for encouraging young girls to lose weight
- 'For 9 months, you have been sitting over names': SC raps Centre on appointment of judges
- Tata Group said to shortlist candidates for next chairman following ouster of Cyrus Mistry
- PM Modi to visit Japan in November, civil nuclear pact high on agenda
- J&K: After nearly 4 hours, Pakistan resumes mortar shelling in R S Pura sector
- Wanted to hit LeT camps in Pakistan after 26/11 strike: Shivshankar Menon
Online thinspiration blogs are encouraging life-threatening behaviour among slimmers, with girls as young as six being treated for severe eating disorders, experts have warned.
The director of New Zealand Eating Disorder Specialists, Charles Fishman, is alarmed at the popularity of websites touting potentially harmful tips for losing weight and displaying images of dangerously thin bodies.
"This gives them an outside source of confirmation that this is the right thing to do, thus adding to the danger," Stuff.co.nz quoted him as saying.
The warning is highlighted by a growing number of people being treated for eating disorders.
Numbers from the Ministry of Health show a steady, yearly rise in patients treated since 2008.
The Waikato District Health Board recorded 44 patients treated in the same time frame.
Of those, 38 were female, 32 suffered from anorexia nervosa and all were aged 18 or under.
More than half were aged 15-17 but there were patients as young as 6 or 7 being treated.
That is the "target audience" of these sites, Fishman said.
"They're certainly the most vulnerable. [These sites] normalise and even encourage behaviour that is life threatening.
"Some sites promote using appetite suppressants, laxatives, cigarettes and drugs to help lose weight and feature images of stick-thin women, with protruding hip and collar bones being the crowd 'favourite'," he added.
Most of the blogs promote healthy eating and exercise but some take on a more sinister theme, encouraging starvation and promoting self harm as "punishment" for overeating - or eating at all.
They are laden with messages such as, "Thou shall not eat without feeling guilty", "I'm not yet a winner, I could be thinner, so I must go throw up dinner", and "being thin is more important than being healthy".
One popular blogging platform, Tumblr, was forced to review its policies around "Thinspo"-like blogs and will now take down sites "crossing the line" of promoting any type of self-harm, eating disorders or suicide.
- A letter like Cyrus Mistry’s could deepen the credibility crisis of Indian capitalism
- The transgender rights bill dilutes the private member’s bill passed by Rajya Sabha
- Diverse myths around the festival underpin Hinduism’s openness
- Polygamy and gender justice debate is more complicated than it is made out to be
- By brokering for MNS, Devendra Fadnavis has shown himself as a CM afraid of a bully
- Pak PM would do well to study the past before choosing Raheel Sharif’s successor