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New body image challenge has women comparing their waist lines width of paper

by Sarah Epstein / / Source: TODAY

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Remember last year's thigh gap trend that swept the Internet, to the dismay of women everywhere?

Now a new trend has emerged on social media, inspiring women to flaunt their ultra-thin waistlines.

The A4 Waist Challenge encourages women to stand behind a piece of white paper to see if their waistlines are thinner than the 8-inch wide piece of paper.

RELATED: Daddy's little girls: How do fathers influence body image?

The challenge appears to have started in February on Weibo, a popular blogging site in China.

Now, women around the globe are completing the challenge.

Dr. Ann Kearney-Cooke, a psychologist at the Cincinnati Psychotherapy Institute, told TODAY.com that challenges like this promote unhealthy body image perceptions, especially among young women.

"It's like your self-esteem is built on measuring a body part and the amount of inches of your waist," she said. "Self-esteem in adolescence should be more about developing your inner strength."

Kearney-Cooke said that girls should be struggling with big questions while growing up, such as, "What do I believe in?" and "What are my signature strengths?" instead of asking themselves, "Does my waist measure up?"

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She emphasized that having a waist as thin as the width of printer paper is not even something most women or young adults can achieve, citing hormones and the natural shape of female bodies.

"Most cannot have that and they feel bad about themselves," she said, adding that such pressures could lead "vulnerable" girls to dangerous behaviors.

Twitter users have pointed out a more realistic approach: turning the paper landscape.

RELATED: Forget the 'thigh gap': #ThighReading celebrates healthy legs

As we've seen with body positive campaigns that have emerged before, it's probably just a matter of time before an embrace-the-waist campaign picks up steam.

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