Kids Getting 'Thinspiration' From Dangerously Skinny Stars

July 12, 2006 — -- Today's New York Post nicknames tennis temptress Anna Kournikova "Anna-rexic."

Kournikova, however, explains her new, less-curvy physique by saying, "I'm naturally long, lean and lanky."

She's not the only celebrity who's getting noticed because of drastic weight loss.

A story on the cover of next week's Us Weekly asks the question: "When does slender become anorexic?"

Shrinking Celebs

Hollywood often sets the tone for our standards of beauty.

More celebrities are becoming dangerously thin, and that worries experts and parents of the kids who emulate them.

Research shows 80 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of being fat, and many of them are getting "thinspiration" from the growing list of young Hollywood celebrities who seem to be shrinking before our eyes.

"More and more celebrities are losing weight very quickly," said Us Weekly editor Caroline Schaefer. "Kate Bosworth, Ellen Pompeo, Keira Knightley. The list goes on. Stars are just getting smaller and smaller."

Bosworth made her big splash as a fit and healthy surfer girl in the movie "Blue Crush." After "Superman," she's sported quite a different look, where a size zero dress looks too big.

Two weeks ago, Bosworth told Jay Leno that her refrigerator was packed, and that she cooked macaroni and cheese and pasta.

Then there's Knightley, whose breakout role was as a toned soccer jock in "Bend It Like Beckham."

Last week, the "Pirates of the Caribbean" star looked radically transformed. At an estimated 100 pounds, the ribs on her 5-foot-7-inch frame were visible.

Knightley denied that she was anorexic at a news conference.

"I can safely say that I'm not [anorexic]," Knightley said. "I've got a lot of experience with anorexia. It's in my family hugely. My grandmother and my great-grandmother suffer from it, and I've got a lot of friends at school who suffer from it, so I don't think it's anything to be taken lightly."

Pro-Anorexia Web Sites

Jim Karas, a trainer at the Equinox Fitness Center in New York, said he was not so sure about the denials.

"I would respectfully say they are not telling the truth," Karas said.

He's not talking about specific girls, just a generation of thin celebrities, for whom he says the math just doesn't add up.

"For an actress to be, say, 5-foot-7 and around 100 pounds, there is no way she is consuming more than 1,000 calories," he said. "And if it's their choice, they should be open and honest about it rather than misleading so much of the young American population when they are not."

Research shows teenage girls and boys are particularly vulnerable.

More than half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys adopt unhealthy weight-control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.

Some Web sites reveal how young people are attempting to become like their pencil-thin idols.

Images of emaciated celebrities and models provide what these sites call "thinspiration" -- promoting unhealthy dieting as a way of life.

New research published in the European Eating Disorders Review found that teenagers with no history of eating disorders suffered from a drop in self-esteem and negative body image after just 25 minutes of exposure to these so-called "pro-ana" and "pro-mia" -- pro-anorexia and pro-bulima -- sites.

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