Does the Belly Button Challenge Really Reveal Whether You Need to Lose Weight?

On the heels of the thigh-gap craze, social media is offering up yet another viral and ludicrous measure of a “good” body: The Belly Button Challenge, which started trending on China’s version of Twitter last week and quickly spread around the world, involves reaching one arm around your back to try and touch your navel. The idea is that if you can reach your belly button, you’re fit; if you can’t, you need to lose weight.

Mmkay.

Where do we start?

RELATED:The Definitive Guide to Body Fat

The Daily Mail reports that web users claim the challenge is based on a U.S. study. But no one seems to be able to find the original research. Read: There’s no actual science involved here!

The notion is totally bunk, confirms Ronald S. Sha, MD, the medical director of the Duke University Diet and Fitness Center. “This is an amusing diversion that means absolutely nothing about an individual’s weight or health,” he told Health. “It’s much more a reflection of a person’s upper extremity flexibility and arm length than of a healthy weight.”

Plus, of course, even someone who “passes” the test because she is slender (and perhaps has extra-bendy shoulders and longish arms) could have many of the same medical issues as an obese person. The so-called “skinny fat” problem is a real and common phenomenon.

RELATED:Which Is Better for Weight Loss: Diet or Exercise?

It’s true that waist circumference is one of the factors doctors use to assess a person’s risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and other health concerns. But there is a scientifically-approved method for measuring it, Dr. Sha points out—no contortion required.

If you want to check your belly fat at home, use a tape measure pulled snugly around your abdomen at the top of your hip bones and parallel to the floor. Note the inches after you exhale. For women, a waist circumference up to 35 inches is considered healthy.

As for the Belly Button Challenge, it’s just another example of an arbitrary beauty standard that requires women to twist themselves into pretzels. This time, literally.

https://vine.co/v/eOYHd5hbWAw

twitter

Try the belly button challenge! http://t.co/YcdQlClMKo#bellybuttonchallenge#bellybuttonpic.twitter.com/hXT3YhiXts

— Belly Fat Formula (@fatbellyblog) June 12, 2015

twitter

After Ice Bucket, now the world is taking the BELLY BUTTON CHALLENGE http://t.co/LDuGk8KH4U#bellybuttonchallengepic.twitter.com/fx4QmnVSwX

— Daily Bhaskar (@daily_bhaskar) June 12, 2015

RELATED:7 Foods That Fight Fat

Read More at health.com

Get more stuff like this
in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list and get interesting stuff and updates to your email inbox.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Got 10 Minutes? This Kettlebell Workout Only Has 3 Exercises
Screen kids and teens for obesity, U.S. experts say
How Your Sandwich Changed The World
Why You Should Move Your HIIT Workout to the Pool
Lena Dunham’s Trainer Tracy Anderson Says She Wanted to ‘Feel Better’ and Not Make Her Body ‘Look Different’
Ashley Graham Maintains Her Body Year-Round But Sometimes Still Feels Shy in a Bathing Suit
4 Ideas for Using Herbs You Probably Haven’t Thought Of
Bobbi Brown’s Top 10 Superfoods for Beauty and the Fun Way She Eats Them
5 Father’s Day Gift Ideas for Food-Loving Dads Everywhere
The Making Of Emotions, From Pleasurable Fear To Bittersweet Relief
4 Foolproof Tips to Make Healthy Veggie Chips at Home
A Food-Lover’s Mother’s Day Gift Guide
Here’s Why a Man Died After Swimming With a New Tattoo  
A MRSA Infection Cost Me $300,000—and Nearly Killed Me
Novartis heart drug success opens up new care option
Obamacare replacement bill to take center stage in Senate