By Ken Swann (August 1, 2014)
A story by Amanda Mascarelli (The Washington Post) was featured July 14, 2014 (The Toronto Star) and talked about this new dieting craze and what effect it might have on our youth.
Anne Becker, a psychiatrist and eating disorder specialist at Harvard Medical School had never heard of this disorder until one day when she heard it point blank from her own 13-year old daughter, she said the girls at school talked about it all the time.
So what is thigh-gap? It’s a disturbing ultra-thin body trend that pressures women and girls to diet until they achieve a gap between the thighs when they stand with their feet touching.
Experts fear that this is driving a number of women especially teens into behavior that could lead to eating disorders and other destructive habits, and that most women or athletes or even those who are very thin do not posses this gap.
But the quest continues. Why do they do it? What do they see when they look in the mirror?
Maybe it’s their friends and peers that drive them to it? Maybe it’s not all their fault?
Becker says that what this is sort of a pathway to future conversations that set these people up to be unhappy with their bodies.
Could we have expected anything else? Look at all the new sayings which are floating around these days, don’t these verses contribute to the problem as well?
Sayings such as “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” or “Rib cage is the new black” or “Don’t eat anything today that you will regret tomorrow” or even “Look at your body and put that food down”.
These platforms pose danger for vulnerable people in part because they provide a strong sense of community, and at a click of a mouse you can access many like minded people who believe the same thing says Jennifer Wildes an assistant professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine.
She says what was once anomalous now seems common when you can reach out to everyone on the internet who shares those same dieting feelings or thoughts.
Adolescents who are vulnerable and already have negative self-esteem and negative body image may be particularly at risk.
So, will this new dieting craze really affect our youth, I believe it will. I think it’s important to keep in touch with our kids and offer our guidance and support whenever we can to keep our offspring on a healthy path which will, in time, prepare them for the future.