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Belly Button Fad Could Lead to Dieting Disorder

Tim Boyer's picture
belly weight loss

It’s a new fad that could cause you to dislocate your shoulder. Here’s why taking the belly button challenge too far could do you harm.


Body shaming has reached a new low - about waist high - as reports of a Belly Button Challenge trending on social media has health experts concerned that it could lead to a dieting disorder.

Basically, taking the Belly Button Challenge requires that you wrap one arm around your back, and then with that same arm, reach toward the front of your body and touch your belly button. Oh…and don‘t forget to take that selfie to record this “accomplishment.”

Reportedly, this fad originated as a hot trending topic on Weibo - China's Twitter equivalent - that is claimed to have attracted over 130 million hits in just two days after a famed Chinese actress posted a selfie of touching her belly button in that way and posting, "Reverse-arm touching belly button means that I have a good figure. Praise me.”

However, this reverse-arm belly button touching fad is misleading others into believing that being able to do so means that you are in good shape and healthy—not unlike the infamous thigh-gap fad of yesteryear.

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“The premise is that if you can reach behind your back and reach your belly button, that you are healthy or fit,” says Ms. Heather Gallivan, Melrose Center Medical Director. “Healthy Bodes come in every shape and size. And really being able to reach around your body to touch your belly button is more a function of your arm length and your shoulder flexibility than an indicator of health.”

According to a NBC News report these types of fads encourage eating disorders:

In fact, what may appear to be a harmless social media fad can do more than just lead to developing an eating disorder. In one report, a woman attempting to force herself to show that she could touch her belly button this way managed to dislocate her shoulder. Furthermore, harassment and humiliation from social media followers can cause crippling psychological damage as those who post their near-successful attempts at touching their belly button are mocked and told to lose weight.

The point is that although the Belly Button Challenge can seem to be just some harmless fun and that too much is being made of it, the truth is that some—if not many--will take it too seriously to the detriment of their health, erroneously believing it is a measure of good health or the latest standard toward being considered body beautiful by the online public.

Reference: NBC NewsMedical Expert Critical of 'Belly Button Challenge