Fitness TikTok Sparks Eating Disorders

Fitness has sparked through the use of TikTok which has increased the amount of eating disorders in teens.


Taliya James

Junior Elizabeth Anderson is on fitness TikTok. “I tried the Chloe Ting workout over COVID because of TikTok,” she said.

Kyra Rink

Fitness TikTok has made a tremendous rise from the pandemic to now. With over fifty-seven billion views as a whole, and passing other categories such as home DIYs, beauty, skincare, and fashion. Fitness TikTok is a great way for people to get started and learn the proper ways to start their journey. With many pros, there are also many cons. Eating disorders and compulsive workout disorders have made an even bigger rise as the trend continues. 

The benefits of Fitness TikTok are more people starting to take part in physical activity. It also gives them a way to feel connected to others and feels a part of something bigger than themselves. People are able to learn how to start their journeys from home which was super helpful during the pandemic. 

Not only has this benefited the people, but it has also benefited gyms. Planet Fitness CEO Chris Rondeau said that the gym chain now has fifteen million members after being shut down by COVID. Rondeau said, “We’re 97% all the way back to where we were pre-COVID.”

Eating disorders have been on a rise among teens and health experts say TikTok is a trap. Influencers post what I eat in a day as well as workout videos which have been shown as triggering for many teens as well as adults. They see their bodies and create unrealistic goals for themselves. 

TikTok does not allow pro-anorexia content but does have a lot of pro-recovery videos. These focus on fighting disordered eating habits and developing healthier lifestyles. With such a positive idea, it can create a very negative outcome. Someone who says they’re doing great, may not be one-hundred percent healed if they are only eating clean, organically, and on a very strict diet.

Colleen Reichmann, the founder of therapy for Eating Disorders and Body Image in Philadelphia, says she has heard from many clients in high school who say that TikTok has been triggering for them. The way the algorithm works makes it so you can see content from creators you may not follow which makes it hard to avoid. 

To stop this, doctors find it important to teach teens the importance of social media literacy. Practicing critical thinking while on social media can help them pick out messages that may trigger them or identify something that is unhealthy. Doctors are also speaking with parents about being mindful of what their teenagers are doing online and on social media. They want them to talk to their teens about the misrepresentation of body types on TikTok.

In the end, if someone needs help to overcome an eating disorder, go to National Eating Disorders, medical doctors, mental health professionals, and nutritionists as soon as possible.