(CNN) — Nail influencers who was trying to lose more than half her body weight as an inspiration to her fans is said to have died while attending a weight loss boot camp in northwest China, fueling debate on how to regulate the fitness industry. influencers.
the death of this influencers The 21-year-old, who posted as Cuihua, led state media to raise awareness of the security risks posed by the diet camps and renewed her concern about the pressure women are under to comply with the current canons of beauty.
It has also intensified scrutiny of the influencerswhich comes just weeks after a young man died in the country after live-streaming how he drank several bottles of hard liquor.
Cuihua had documented his weight loss journey to his tens of thousands of followers on Douyin, China’s version of TikTok, in a bid to encourage them in their own fight against obesity, state media reported. country.
He had recently posted several videos showing him undergoing intense training exercises and describing how he weighed 156kg and was trying to lose 100kg.
Videos posted on the young woman’s account influencers in which he appeared running and lifting weights were widely shared on Chinese social media and also appeared on various state media following his death late last month.
China National Radio reported that Cuihua, identified by her surname, Zhou, had enrolled in various weight loss camps in different cities in an attempt to achieve her goal and had lost over 27kg over the two months before his death.
According to the radio, Cuihua had attended his last camp in Shaanxi province just two days before his death.
Although this camp encouraged “nutritious meals, rest and healthy exercise”, they said she chose to limit her diet while engaging in vigorous exercise.
Cuihua’s workout videos have since been deleted from the account and the photos have also been deleted.
State media said the family of the influencers he had received “compensation” from the Shaanxi Weight Loss Camp, but they did not specify the amount.
Local authorities said they are investigating the death and whether the weight loss camp was conducting excessive or inadequate training. CNN has contacted the Huayin government in Shaanxi province for comment.
Zhou’s death has led to renewed scrutiny in the weight loss and fitness industries. influencers.
In China, as in much of Asia and the rest of the world, social media is full of unhealthy and unrealistic trends promoting extreme weight loss.
Eating disorder and sports nutrition experts warn that even seemingly healthy behaviors, such as increased levels of exercise and diet, can be harmful when motivated by a negative body image and pushed to extreme. In extreme cases, the resulting problems can go beyond mental health and lead to serious medical complications involving the heart, brain, liver, kidneys and other organs.
A recent fad on social media in China was for women to pose behind vertical sheets of printer paper to show that their waists were so thin they could not be seen from either side. He was also seen influencers to go up selfies to show off how many pieces they can fit on their collarbones to show how skinny they are, or trying on children’s clothes to show off their petite physique.
At the same time, rising levels of obesity in the country have increased the pressure on many women.
According to data from a recent national survey, more than half of Chinese adults are overweight or obese, and obesity rates are expected to rise.
Meanwhile, there are also concerns that some weight loss camps are marketing increasingly extreme diets as unrealistic quick fixes.
“Slimming camps are on the rise, and there are numerous reports of false health claims and advertisements. It is common for participants to sustain injuries during the unregulated training process,” the news agency warned. ‘State China News Service.
Zhou’s death also heightened security sector oversight. influencers on social media in general. In recent years, this sector has come under fire from authorities due to the lavish lifestyles of some influencers and the increasingly extreme challenges they engage in to engage their audience.
The debate reignited last month when a influencers known as ‘Brother Three Thousand’ was found dead just hours after broadcasting himself drinking several bottles of Baijiu, a Chinese spirit with a typical alcohol content of between 30% and 60%, in the as part of an online competition.
Last year, the country’s broadcasting authorities banned children under 16 from tipping live broadcasters and they restricted their access after 10 p.m.
The National Video and Television Administration of China and the Ministry of Culture and Tourism have also taken steps to prohibit “31 inappropriate behaviors by live broadcasters“.
Such misconduct includes “encouraging users to interact in vulgar ways,” according to the state-run Global Times.
On Weibo, a platform similar to Twitter, a recent comment that had gained popularity called Zhou “another innocent life plagued by marketing and culture of influencers“.