It didn't make much of a dent, Sacker said. Over time, online offerings for those with eating disorders have only gotten more sophisticated. The text and a photos of skeletal models has morphed into videos, voice-overs, blogs and Facebook groups.
"Parents need to be aware and have boundaries about what their kids are doing on Facebook or on these sites," Sacker said. "Even though some sites talk about recovery, the majority can worsen or prolong the illness."
Though there are many exceptions, the typical profile of someone with an eating disorder is a highly intelligent, motivated perfectionist who "feels they are not good enough, no matter what they do, and are looking for some form of control," Sacker said.
The content of pro-eating disorder sites reflected those themes, with 83 percent talking about "success," 81 percent "control," 80 percent "perfection" and 76 percent "solidarity," according to the paper.
People with eating disorders may also have depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder or other mental health conditions.
The obsession with weight loss obscures all else, Sacker said. "They become totally preoccupied by looking at mirrors. They know more about nutrition than most nutritionists. They lose friends and become socially isolated because of it," Sacker said.
Medications, including mood stabilizers, anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants can help some with eating disorders, Sacker said.
There's more on eating disorders at the American Academy of Family Physicians.
SOURCES: Dina L.G. Borzekowski, Ed.D., associate professor, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore; Ira Sacker, M.D., eating disorder specialist, New York City; Jun
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