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The dangers of internet body challenges

Posted at 10:30 PM, May 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-09 23:34:47-04

Eating disorders, like anorexia, are the leading cause of death in girls 15 to 24.

There is a dangerous new trend on the internet some doctors say could spark an eating disorder. Trends called "body challenges."

Girls holding iPhones up to their knees, comparing their waist to a piece of paper, stacking coins on their collar boned. All photos of what many experts call unrealistic body types.

2 Works for You anchor Taniya Wright sat down with several juniors and seniors from Owasso High School and talk about how the images make them feel.

Lauren Weilbert says she doesn't understand the challenges. "You can't compare yourself to a piece of paper, it's ridiculous, it's unhealthy"

Dr. Heather Gilliam with the Laureate Psychiatric Clinic says these online images can have dangerous effects on people, especially young women.

"The difficulty is, very few people are equipped with the knowledge of what it takes medically to maybe do some of those body challenges. Even the ones put out there under the guides of fitness have tremendous risk."

Dr. Gilliam says these "internet body challenges" can be the start of eating disorders.
More than half of teenage girls and nearly one-third of teenage boys use unhealthy weight control behaviors such as skipping meals, fasting, smoking cigarettes, vomiting, and taking laxatives.

Dr. Gilliam says parents should always be aware of what their children are looking at online. If you think your child may be participating in one of these internet body challenges, or suffering from some other type of eating disorder, seek professional help.

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