A new cause to anorexia was discovered by researchers in Exeter University; social media. According to this new study social media contributes to the spread of anorexia by flooding the web with pictures of young women and girls who are skinny to the point of illness. Many young ladies use Twitter and Instagram to compliment other women on their grotesquely skinny skeleton frame figures.
Anorexic women use the social media to show pictures of their bony joints and bodies as a sign of their success in dieting. But instead of getting feedback that encourages their good health and better eating habits they get raving compliments in their successes when in reality many should be hospitalized if they are to survive their potentially fatal illness.
“Social media has thousands of accounts of women devoted to attaining anorexic dimensions for their bodies. They obviously have eating disorders. Many show off their ‘achievements’ in photos alongside information of how few calories they intake daily,” say the researchers.
Earlier research which came out in January from the University of Adelaide in Australia already showed that these social media accounts spread anorexia; young women who were shared pictures of anorexics were at higher risk of developing anorexia and other eating disturbances.
Though there are many websites which encourage unhealthy eating habits, researchers believe that social media is far more harmful since it reaches a wider audience and they are more accessible. The feedback is also more immediate.
“Anorexia and drastic weight loss are a serious medical and social problem, says Catherine Talbot one of the psychologists leading the study. “To treat the social aspect of this problem we must be aware of the fact that the social platforms popular among youth- mainly young women and girls- encourage drastic weight loss.”