"Thigh Gap:" A Dangerous New Trend
GAINESVILLE- From Twiggy to Adele, celebrities sometimes offer very different standards of what society says is beautiful.
But being skinny has always been a dangerous struggle for teenagers.
TV20's Alex de Armas tells us about a new benchmark that may raise the stakes-- and the danger.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 10 million men and women suffer from eating disorders or other dietary conditions.
Now a new trend might be a result of social media.
Flat stomachs, defined collar bones , and thin arms: these are common signs of what society calls "skinny."
"A lot of girls are really sub-conscience about the way they look," said high school student Danielle Franklin.
Franklin hears girls in school talking about their weight quite often, some maybe talking about what ABC News is calling the latest skinny trend… "thigh gap."
"A thigh gap is the space that occurs between two thighs when someone stands up," said Roxanne H, a registered dietitian for the Eating Disorder Recovery Center at UF and Shands.
Hartman is a registered dietitian and says some girls have a natural gap in between their thighs, but most of the time its associated with an eating disorder.
"Unfortunately in the field that I work in with eating disorders it is something that we see white frequently at least as something that people are striving for," said Hartman.
With all the movies, models on the runway and pressure from friends and family, its sometimes hard to ignore the messages.
But what's different with today's teenage generation that wasn't around twiggy's time?... social media.
"Especially in the eating disorder community it's very prevalent," said Hartman.
#thigh gap, #proana and #eating disorder have thousands of pictures.
There's even twitter accounts tweeting advice on how to stay "skinny"... harmful advice like..."leave the dirty dishes where your parents can find them. they will think you ate."
Experts say people with eating disorders are turning to social media to exchange tips and tricks.
They do this instead of looking for help.
"This is an unrealistic goal. For some people this may come naturally, however for most of us our thighs hold the fat that we need in them," said Hartman. "It's not going to be realistic to have a large space in-between them. So again, if somebody is striving an unrealistic goal like that… something that is not common in your family, in your household, then that's the time to be worried."
If you think you know someone who might have an eating disorder, you'll want to look for significant changes in their weight and in how they look ... that's usually a red flag.
And of course, reach out to a doctor or therapist for help.
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