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Now, some people will argue that the desire for ultra-thinness is nothing new.
One of the first complications of anorexia nervosa is a loss of periods.Such sites are so dangerous because they give a legitimacy to an illness which survives and thrives on secrecy.On one internet page, I found a picture of a young girl, her rib bones standing out from her back like wooden stays, saying: ‘I can’t tell my mum that I haven’t eaten anything today.’ Surveys bear out the loneliness of the sufferer.Added together, the combined total for people — diagnosed and undiagnosed — with an eating disorder in the UK is an estimated 1.15million.Studies show that anorexia is most likely to develop in girls aged between 10 and 19, and can lead to several complex and often lifelong health problems: osteoporosis (thinning bones), is a major one.But boyfriend trouble came hot on the heels of a series of job rejections (her mum thought she probably came over as depressed) and Anna decided to diet.
She wasn’t by any means overweight — she wore a size 12 — but most of her friends were a little thinner, squeezing their slender hips into sizes 10s and 8s and Anna decided to emulate them.
A recent report into 600 young people with eating disorders found that only one per cent of children felt they could talk to their parents about their eating-related concerns.
Meanwhile, 92 per cent of the children felt they couldn’t tell anyone at all — except that now they can tell other sufferers about their feelings on the social networking sites which have become central to the lives of millions of teens.
But what about this — from a website dedicated to the promotion of anorexia, and which boasts of being the world’s largest site of its kind: ‘Okay, so today was going so well . Girls post pictures of themselves, bones protruding from skin like famine victims or survivors of death camps.
They adopt the poses of fashion models, their skinny arms held above their heads, their faces turned at fetching angles to the camera.
I once read an article about Jennifer Lopez’s diet regime which said she kept no food in the fridge.