‘Belly button craze’ endangers health, experts say



A global social media craze asking people to ‘measure’ their health and weight by reaching for their belly buttons has health experts worried.

The #BellyButtonChallenge reportedly originated in China and was allegedly based on an ‘unknown study’ from the US that concluded women who could wrap their arm behind their back and touch their navel had a healthy body.

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The challenge has spread worldwide, prompting thousands of people to post selfies trying to achieve the task.

Since last Wednesday, the #BellyButtonChallenge received more the 130 million hits and was now the number one trending topic on Weibo, the Chinese version of Twitter, the Daily Mail reported.

Experts, however, don’t see the challenge as being a valid indicator of healthiness, but rather people having long arms and being flexible.

Some have even compared it to another negative body image challenge labeled the #thighgap, which was meant to prove if a woman was of healthy weight by the amount of fat they had between their thighs.

“This is just silly,” Albert Einstein College of Medicine registered dietitian and associate professor of paediatrics, Keith Ayoob, told PEOPLE.

“You can be perfectly healthy without being able to do this. It addresses flexibility, but even then only one aspect of it.”

Doctor and author of The SuperFoodsRx Diet, Wendy Bazilian agreed and said the fad was not effective.

“There are lots of more scientific – or at least kind and loving – ways to measure your body and determine your health status,” she told the magazine.

“Beautiful bodies come in many sizes.”  

Some people have taken the challenge seriously, while others had a good laugh about it.

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