The 'Cinderella Diet Challenge' Is The Latest Dangerous Trend Among Teenagers

Feb | 61 sharesOlivia Morton

In the wake of the Tide Pod Challenge, you'd have thought that young people online would have become more conservative in way that they use the internet. But the latest craze to sweep across the World Wide Web is evidence that no lessons have been learned.

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Over that past week, the 'Cinderella Diet Challenge' has grown alarmingly popular online as teens take desperate measures to lose weight. Inspired by the tiny waists of Disney princesses, young people are using websites such as Twitter to promote their crash diets.

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Of course, this isn't the first time that extreme dieting has found a home online. Since the dawn of the internet, there have been forums, articles and chat rooms dedicated to extreme weight loss. In 2012, Tumblr came under fire for appearing to ignore the dark side of its community after thousands of 'pro-anorexia' blogs were exposed by mental health activists. The blogs, which published romanticized images of skeletal bodies, encouraged young people to starve themselves in order to be like their favorite celebrity - often with sinister results.

Shortly after this scandal was revealed, Instagram banned keywords such as 'anorexia', 'thigh gap' and 'thinspiration' from being used as hashtags in order to thwart attempts made by young people to use the site as a platform for 'pro-anorexia'.

Most tellingly is the fact that since 2000 (essentially the birth of the internet) there has been a 15% rise in the number of people diagnosed with an eating disorder. Despite efforts made by some of the biggest social platforms on the internet to eradicate 'pro-anorexia' content, it seems that the problem isn't one that will go away.

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The Cinderella Diet Challenge is the latest online trend to prove that where there is a will there's a way. Despite using cartoon characters for inspiration, the diet craze, which is thought to have originated in Japan, is very real.

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It demands those who participate to quash their BMI (Body Mass Index) to a mere 18, which is considered underweight. It is recommended that in order to be healthy, the human body's BMI should be somewhere between 18.5 and 24.9.

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In order to calculate your 'Cinderella weight,' the challenge demands that you square your height in meters, and then multiply that number by 18 - for example if you are 5ft5 (165 cm) your Cinderella weight will be 7st 2lbs (46kg).

Unsurprisingly, the new trend has divided opinions online. A large majority of the heat stems from those who oppose the drastic diet and all that it stands for.

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However, peppered in between criticisms of the Cinderella Diet Challenge are messages from young girls who are sincerely attempting to shed weight in accordance to what their Cinderella weight should be.

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Currently, it is not clear how many people have commenced with the diet. But now that it has caught the attention of the mass public, there is no doubt that it'll have lost some of its appeal.

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However, the incident has again raised concerns about the body image that Disney princesses promote. Is it time that their thin waists and slim gowns were retired?