Thigh Gap: A Disturbing Trend Among Teen Girls

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Thigh Gap: A Disturbing Trend Among Teen Girls
Talking to your teens about eating disorders

By Barbara Greenberg, PhD, Teen Parenting Expert for GalTime.com

Teen girls are, as we know, the group most likely to develop eating disorders and especially to develop anorexia nervosa. This is certainly nothing new, and this month, we look closely at the issue during February's Eating Disorder Awareness Month. I believe that we should be on the alert for the development of eating disorders constantly because the earlier they are caught and treated the easier they are to treat effectively.

RELATED Are You Teaching Your Child to Diet?

Once eating disorders become deeply entrenched, they are more resistant to treatment and the prognosis is worse. Watch how your daughters are eating. If they suddenly start to:

1. Cut out specific food groups

2. Develop odd food rituals like cutting their food up into tiny pieces

3. Make up excuses for why they can't eat such as complaining about stomach problems

4. Leave the table often during dinner perhaps to spit up their food

 

AND

5. Are wearing excessively baggy clothing to cover up their weight loss

 

Then take note and consider getting your daughter to the pediatrician and perhaps to a therapist for a good evaluation as soon as possible.

Young women are inclined to judge their bodies harshly particularly when they compare their bodies to those of emaciated models in magazines, and to celebrities who they admire who are often rail thin. Many female teens set up impossible standards for themselves, which are incredibly hard to meet unless they are willing to put their health at risk by engaging in severely restrictive dieting. This is sometimes also accompanied by dangerous behaviors such as excessive exercising, purging and sometimes the use of laxatives.

 

RELATED Body Image: Making Sure Your Teen Sees All The 'Right' Things

Today, I am concerned about a new trend that is quickly spreading among our teen girls. I am referring to something referred to on websites, Tumblr and in girl talk that is called the thigh gap.

One needs only to look at various websites to see that this is a far-reaching concern.The thigh gap refers to the space between the thighs which teen girls are striving for. Apparently this started trending after the Victoria Secret fashion show in December. Teen girls just don't want their thighs to touch. This odd obsession is certainly being fueled by social media like many other teen trends both positive and negative.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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