Worrying New Trend Taking Over Instagram Is Extremely Dangerous

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A study has found an alarming new trend on social media which is promoting anorexia.

According to research from the University of Exeter, hundreds of women are using Instagram and Twitter to praise so-called ‘bonespiration’ posts.

The study has found an alarming number of users are using their social media accounts to celebrate extreme images of thinness while uploading skeletal pictures of women.

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The study also claims to have found a number of accounts which feature selfies taken by girls to highlight their protruding hip bones, spines and collar bones. It should be pointed out that the researchers conducted their analysis on 734 images based on specifically targeted/searched hashtags such as; ‘thinspiration’, ‘bonespiration’ and ‘fitspiration’ on Twitter, Instagram and We Heart It.

Their search uncovered a staggering amount of content which glorifies bodies going through eating disorders along with captions that boast about the tiny portions of meals they consume.

These new findings coincide with another study which was published this year in January by researchers at the University of Adelaide, in Australia, which revealed that women were posting ‘fitspiration’ pictures are more likely to be at risk with an eating disorder.

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Speaking to The Independent, nutritionist and eatting disorder specialist Rhiannon Lambert says:

It’s very worrying. I have clients who aspire for thigh gaps. They compare their appearance to others and find themselves suffering with large amounts of anxiety when using social media.

Lambert, who’s upcoming book Re-Nourish examines the dangerous effects of modern day diet culture, states:

Unqualified anecdotal advice is also rife.

BOOK COVER REVEAL ?I'm thrilled to share the actual front cover of my very own book! ?Re-Nourish: A Simple Way To Eat Well (Pre-Order link in my bio!) ?While it's amazing that healthy is now the cool thing to be, so many people have lost touch with the true meaning of nutrition by following all kinds of trends. I want to take us back to basics and be free from dieting and restriction once and for all! ?I really do believe that food should be a positive aspect of life, offering enjoyment, fuel and happiness for both the mind and body. That's why I talk about the foods we can and should eat rather than those you can't and shouldn't. ?In this part handbook, part recipe book, you'll discover my food philosophy grounded in scientific evidence, the foundations for a happy, healthy relationship with eating and hopefully gain the confidence you need to create delicious nourishing meals at home with my Re-Nourish Menu. ??I think what makes my book truly unique is that it follows the structure of a consultation at my Harley Street clinic @Rhitrition (Rhitrition.com) and offers a balanced menu rather than a plan or diet. ?With the backing of brilliant @YellowKiteBooks, I'm overjoyed they've supported me in challenging the status quo in believing that no one size fits all with nutrition. After all, our bodies are all as unique as our personalities! ?I am so grateful to all of you who have supported me, without you this dream would never happen. Roll on 28 December! #ReNourish

A post shared by RHIANNON LAMBERT BSc MSc ANutr (@rhitrition) on

Academic researchers are now worried that social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram have potential to do more harm than pro-anorexia websites due to the accessibility and overall wider reach.

Furthermore the new research comes four years after Instagram put a ban on hashtags like; ‘anorexia’, ‘proana’, ‘thinspiration’, ‘thighgap’ and ‘imugly’ in a bid to tackle the eating disorder culture emerging on their platform.

However it did little to stem the tide as there are currently more than 157,000 posts tagged ‘#thinspiration’ and ‘bonespo’ on Instagram.

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Catherine Talbot, a psychologist at the University of Exeter, points out that:

Anorexia and extreme weight loss is a serious social and medical problem.

To tackle this social contagion we need to be aware of the social media platforms being used by young people – mainly girls and young women – which is encouraging extreme weight loss. This behaviour could seriously damage their psychological and physical health.

Teenagers need to be taught about positive body image in schools and we need to build resilience.

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If you been affected by the issues brought up in this article please visit the Anorexia & Bulimia Care website.