The belly button challenge is a social media trend that originated in China and has been making its way across the globe.
It recently reached the United States and has many health care professionals and parents concerned about what this challenge represents and the implications it has for young girls in America.
The Idea Behind the Belly Button Challenge
The idea behind the belly button challenge is to be able to reach around your back and touch your belly button. This is supposed to be a sign that you are healthy, thin, and beautiful.
Those who are able to accomplish this goal are highly praised by their friends and fans alike, whereas those who are unable to do this are left feeling inadequate, fat, and ugly.
Dangers of the Belly Button Challenge
One of the biggest dangers of this challenge is that it is not an indication of health at all. In fact, it is a greater test of flexibility in the shoulder than it is a weight or body size test.
This can lead to many people who are perfectly healthy feeling as though they are not thin enough because they are not able to reach their belly button from behind their back.
Body image problems continue to plague the youth in American and other parts of the world. It is estimated that up to 15% of Americans suffer from some type of eating disorder, with bulimia and anorexia being the most common.
The root problem of these eating disorders is nearly always a false body image with many people who have these disorders feeling as though they are not thin enough even if they are at a healthy weight or underweight.
Eating disorders cause serious health problems and an estimated 10% of those who have anorexia or bulimia will die within 10 years. In addition to health problems, those who have these eating disorders often suffer emotionally and mentally as they cannot accept themselves and may have trouble connecting with others.
When social media trends such as the belly button challenge spread around the internet, it causes people to look more closely and think about their own bodies. In this case more than others, young people are comparing their bodies to others and feeling like they are falling short of a standard that is unreasonable and unhealthy.
Parents who have children who struggle with negative body image should be made aware of the dangers of this challenge as it could potentially push children who are close to the edge of an eating disorder over the edge.
It could also make things worse for those who are already struggling with an eating disorder.
Additionally, people who have not yet accepted that their anorexia is a disorder and can successfully perform the challenge will feel encouraged and believe that they are right on track.