Thigh gaps, razor ribs, concave chests, child-sized bodies... We investigate the frightening super-skinny trend

With her jutting spine and concave stomach, Lady Gaga‘s barely recognisable these days.

Just last November a voluptuous size 12 Gaga derided critics for judging her curves, saying: ‘What kind of example is that to a young girl sitting at home?’

Only nine months later, Gaga, 27 – who once bravely shared her own battle with bulimia to help sufferers – now sports a body so terrifyingly thin it would make most of us wince.

Miley Cyrus, 20, has been flaunting her scarily shrinking 21in waist, while Victoria’s Secret model Miranda Kerr, 30, has shown off her ‘xylophone’ rib cage in a yoga pose.

And just two weeks ago Little Mix‘s Jesy Nelson, 22, Tweeted a picture of herself exhausted after a workout – a shocking mini-me of her former size 12 self.

Yes, super-skinny is back with a vengeance.

And today’s celebs are taking it to a scary new level.

The disturbing consequences include a rise in eating disorders and extreme cosmetic surgery, as many young women try desperately to emulate their underweight role models.

‘An anorexic body is now the aspirational look within the celebrity world and this is putting enormous pressure on women – mentally and physically – to try to achieve something that’s both unhealthy and unsustainable,’ says Emmy Gilmour, founder and clinical director of The Recover Clinic, which specialises in treating eating disorders and body dysmorphia.

‘The thigh gap trend, concave chests and xylophone ribs are physical manifestations of someone who’s significantly malnourished – not the sign of a beautiful woman.

‘We have to challenge why and how this near-death appearance became associated with beauty.’

The shocking reality is that ‘thinspiration’ isn’t an underground, secret phenomenon anymore.

It’s gone mainstream and it’s the world’s biggest stars who are leading the way.

It’s not so long ago our body idols were curvy girls like the original supermodels Cindy Crawford, 47, and Naomi Campbell, 43.

But now it’s skinny that’s in.

And across social media sites, super-skinniness is being lauded.

The substantial gap between size 4 model Cara Delevingne‘s thighs even has its own Twitter account, with 3,000 followers – including Cara, 21, herself.

Impressionable young women going to extreme lengths in order to emulate this frightening new body type.

Harley Street cosmetic clinic Lovelite has seen a 240 per cent rise in demand for liposuction treatment to the inner thighs, with women queuing up to achieve the coveted ‘thigh gap’.

Meanwhile, plastic surgeons have also reported a hike in requests for ‘shoulder lipo’ from women who want jutting collarbones and shoulders like Nicole Richie, 31.

Sadly, those unable to afford expensive surgery are turning to starvation to achieve the same results.

King’s College London and the UCL Institute of Child Health report a 15 per cent increase in eating disorders, while the Health and Social Care Information Centre reveals there’s been a 16 per cent rise in hospital admissions, with teenage girls most at risk.

Whether they’re being papped on the red carpet or posting selfies of their bodies, one thing is becoming frighteningly clear – 2013 is the year of the ultra-skinny star.

But there’s nothing glamorous about being unnaturally thin.

So embrace your curves, ladies.

Love your body the way it is and let’s remember what sexy really looks like.

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