(WREG-TV) A simple red bracelet may seem harmless enough, but the message some associate with it is very disturbing – some groups online are using the jewelry to promote anorexia.
Pro ana is used to describe people who actually want to live with anorexia.
There is an entire community of people who say they choose to have an eating disorder and have no intentions of stopping.
Some websites post “tips” for those with anorexia, such as hitting yourself in the stomach if you get hunger pains or counting to 100 to distract yourself from eating.
A website called My Pro Ana started selling bracelets so people with anorexia can easily identify and support one another in their fasting.
The jewelry is already sold out.
It is a frightening trend that has organizations like the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa & Associated Disorders, or ANAD, speaking out.
Executive Director for ANAD Laura Discipio told WREG, “I am very saddened by this unfortunate misuse of something as simplistic as a bracelet.”
Discipio said it is important to note that plenty of groups and organizations use eating disorder bracelets, even red ones like these, to send positive messages.
“ANAD has bracelets that say, ‘Wellness not Weighed,’ or, ‘Accept Yourself; Accept Others,’” she pointed out.
Anorexia primarily affects adolescents.
“They look at themselves in a mirror, and they don’t see what you and I see,” Discipio said of people suffering from eating disorders.
Registered dietician Molly Goggans said there are steps to decrease someone’s risk of developing an eating disorder later in life.
“Parents should be mindful of whether they’re setting a good example for their children, showing that healthy eating is a balance of nutrients.”
WREG reached out to several pro ana websites, including My Pro Ana, the site selling the bracelets, for comment.
We even offered to let them stay anonymous, but no one responded to our requests.