How viral weight loss challenges are creating body image issues

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The 'Bellybutton Challenge' Trends Across Social Media


In today's society, we are surrounded by media that highlights and defines "the perfect body", but in reality, that ideal is unrealistic and universally unattainable.

Recently, the most alarming body-related issues in media have centered around viral weight loss "challenges."

In early June, the "bellybutton challenge" surfaced on the Internet and became viral after the trend took off and blew up Sina Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter. More than 130 million people attempted this challenge, taking photos of themselves touching their bellybuttons and then posting it on social media.

The weight loss craze challenges women to reach their arm behind their backs, around their waists, and eventually reach to touch the bellybutton. In reality, reaching your bellybutton depends on shoulder flexibility, not fitness, and this challenge has been skewing reality to convince women otherwise.

Shortly after the bellybutton challenge went viral, the "collarbone challenge" gained popularity on the Internet, also as a result of a popular Chinese weight loss craze. In the "collarbone challenge", people are encouraged to place coins in their collarbones to see how many can balance in the dip above their collarbone without toppling over.

A Chinese language site claimed that the more coins you can fit in your collarbone, the "sexier and skinnier" you are. Not only is this insane, but it's dangerous and it poses serious health concerns.

Claire Mysko, program director for the National Eating Disorders Association said:

"This social media challenge is dangerous because it stokes comparison and fuels insecurity, especially for people who struggle with disordered eating and poor body image."

She also made sure to mention that NEDA focuses on promoting and supporting social media challenges that promote body positivity and encourage self-acceptance.

Promoting body positivity is crucial because in a world full of viral weight loss challenges, it's easy to get lost in the mix of something that can truly be detrimental to your health.

What do you do to promote body positivity? Tell us in the comments below!

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