health -- October 4, 2013 at 6:58 PM ET
Internet communities fuel dangerous weight-loss goal
When most people stand with their feet together, their thighs touch. For some thin models, there's a gap between their thighs. But social media sites, such as Tumblr, are fueling a trend among young women to achieve this dangerous weight-loss goal.
The AP reports that studies show peer pressure plays a role in eating disorders. A 2011 study at the University of Haifa shows that girls who spend more time on Facebook have a higher chance of developing an eating disorder.
"It helped to normalize what I was doing to myself," Sara, a client at a St. Louis treatment center for eating disorders, told the AP. "I never knew before that I wanted a thigh gap. It felt like it was some type of accomplishment that people would want to achieve."
Dr. Vonda Wright, a surgeon and fitness expert, said that people with thigh gaps are genetically rare, having both wide hips and skinny frames. Also, some extraordinarily thin people do not have thigh gaps.