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The photographs were intended as a mocking and satirical take on pro-ana.

One study of individuals without eating disorders demonstrated that 84% of participants decreased caloric intake by an average of 2,470 calories (301 min -7851 max) per week after viewing pro-ED (eating disorder) websites.Exhortations like "Ana's Creed" and "The Thin Commandments" are also common.A similar increase was also noted in a 2006 Maastricht University study investigating alternatives to censorship of pro-ana material.or boasting about personal accomplishments of weight loss.The communities centred on such sites can be warmly welcoming (especially in recovery-friendly groups) or sometimes cliquish and openly suspicious of newcomers.Most claim that they exist mainly as a non-judgmental environment for anorexics; a place to turn to, to discuss their illness, and to support those who choose to enter recovery.

Others deny anorexia nervosa is a mental illness and claim instead that it is a "lifestyle choice" that should be respected by doctors and family.

A study of pro-ana and pro-recovery website use among adolescents with eating disorders found that adolescents used both types of websites to further eating disordered behaviors.

Users of pro-ana sites (n=60) cited a sense of belonging (77%), social support (75%), and support for the choice to continue current eating disorder behaviors (54%) as reasons for joining a pro-ana site.

Conversely, reverse thinspiration features images of fatty food or overweight people intended to induce disgust.

There exists significant controversy between supporters and opponents of thinspiration; some assert that thinspiration only "glorifies" eating disorders pro-ana blogs often post thinspirational entries, and many pro-ana forums have threads dedicated to sharing thinspiration.

A 2007 survey by the University of South Florida of 1575 girls and young women found that those who had a history of viewing pro-ana websites did not differ from those who viewed only pro-recovery websites on any of the survey's measures, including body mass index, negative body image, appearance dissatisfaction, level of disturbance, and dietary restriction.