Health Watch: Thinspiration Inspiration

By Jana Fagotti
September 11, 2003


“To be beautiful is to be thin,” writes Lenny on her website for Thinspiration at The site features over a dozen scantily clad, pale, expressionless female models such as Kate Moss with captions such as, “Wow!” and “Oh, my God, is she beautiful.”

Thinspiration websites, or pro-anorexia websites, serve as outlets for girls suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, “in which a person refuses to maintain a healthy weight. It is a self-imposed starvation,” according to

Steve Bloomfield, spokesman for the Eating Disorder Association, said: “There are three types of pro-anorexia websites: Those that are message boards where people contact each other; those that are quite static with pages of information and pictures; and, thirdly, those that give you tips on how to fool those around you that you haven’t got a problem. The third type is positively dangerous. Given the fact that anorexia has the highest death rate of any mental disease, with one in five untreated cases ending in tragedy, this advice can have a terrible effect.”

Websites such as give identifiable symptoms of anorexia including isolation from others, excessive dependency, immaturity, obsessive-compulsive behavior, excessive exercise or physical activity, depression and drug use.

The website also states that, like most eating disorders, “The exact cause of anorexia is unknown. It is believed to be a result of psychological, biological, and social stress. Some experts believe that anorexia nervosa is a response to social attitudes that equate beauty with being thin.”

Anorexia occurs, in most people, between the ages of 12 and twenty-one. College students are often affected by the disorder.

“As many as ten percent of college women suffer from clinical or nearly clinical eating disorders, including 5.1 percent who suffer from bulimia nervosa,” according to both the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders.

Bulimia nervosa is another eating disorder commonly characterized by induced vomiting. Both associations also say that “18 percent of women and .04 percent of men have a history of bulimia and that as many as 1 percent of females between the ages of twelve and eighteen have anorexia.”

If you or someone you know on-campus is suffering from an eating disorder please contact health services at x8400 for help and support.

Posted to the web by Marisa Gallelli

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Jana Fagotti

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