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Doctors are warning against 'the bellybutton challenge'

Doctors are warning against 'the bellybutton challenge'
Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

What happened to the idea that online challenges contribute to the greater good? The Ice Bucket Challenge had the right idea in raising millions of dollars for ALS research last year. But in recent months, the Cinnamon challenge, the Kylie Jenner lip challenge and the #CharlieCharlie challenge have steered us in a completely different direction.

The latest ultra-viral trend known as the "#BellyButtonChallenge" and is rumored to have started in China on Weibo, but now it's worldwide. Before you or your children get on board, you should know doctors and experts are warning against it.

In the challenge, you are supposed to try and touch your bellybutton while reaching your arm around your back. The idea is that if you can reach your bellybutton, you're healthy and have a fit figure to show off on social media sites. Here's one of the more popular examples:

#bellybuttonchallenge #chamtaytoirun #kyduyen2015

A photo posted by Nguyễn Cao Kỳ Duyên (@kydunguyen) on

Now, you tell me, does this challenge require you to be skinny, or just have flexible arms? It seems harmless enough, but the trending hashtag then sounded the alarm for the National Eating Disorder Association. Claire Mysko, the program's director, told ABC News:

"Social media challenges like these can stoke comparison and body insecurity, especially for those struggling with disordered eating."

Dr. Carolyn Ievers-Landis from University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, echoed that sentiment, also telling ABC News:

"It's concerning people are using body differences to promote possibly unhealthy eating practices or ways in which people can compare themselves negatively to others, which has been linked to depressive symptoms," she said. "It's one more indicator of 'I'm not good enough,' 'attractive enough,' or 'thin enough,' and it's harmful."

What do you think? This trend might not be as physically threatening as the Cinnamon challenge or the lip challenge, but is it just as dangerous as the feeling fat emoji on Facebook? Let me know what you think by posting in the comments below.

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Source: ABC News
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