Washington: The space between the inner thighs when standing with legs together has become an unhealthy form of 'thinspiration' for many teen girls. Eating disorder experts say that sites devoted to the trend provide a place for people with anorexia or bulimia to "hide out" and postpone treatment.

For some teens, minding the gap has become an unhealthy obsession. It's called the "thigh gap," and it refers to a space between the upper thighs when standing with legs and knees together, media reported.

Not everyone has one — and past childhood, genetics dictate most people won't — but among the people who do are very slender actresses and runway models, photos of whom are providing dangerous "thinspiration" to young women (and men) who wish to diet themselves down to a pair of stick-like legs.

A recent report by ABC's 'Good Morning America' interviewed a group of four high school junior girls from New Jersey, all of whom said they had friends obsessed with thigh gap images. Those caught up in thigh gap obsession have plenty of fuel for their mania. On social media sites such as Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook, pages devoted to posting images and "how-to" guides abound — not just for thighs, but for an array of different body parts, from collarbones to cheekbones.

Such sites contribute to the distorted body image that is a mental component of disorders such as anorexia and bulimia, Lynn Grefe, president and CEO of the National Eating Disorders Association, which advocates on behalf of individuals and families affected by eating disorders, said.

(Agencies)

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