Female students in China are said to be eating roundworm eggs in a desperate bid to lose weight and look thin when appearing for job interviews.
The eggs hatch in the stomach allowing those who take them to shed pounds without exercising or dieting in Xiamen, China, where employment is hard to come by.
AdvertisementSwallowing the worms is extremely dangerous, and it can lead to severe health problems, but with a shortage of jobs, the women are under pressure to appear thin if they are to have any chance of landing a role.
Employment stands at 22 percent - and the size of the labour pool has grown by 112 million people over the last decade to more than one billion people.
But many students struggle to find work as the world's most populous nation faces big unemployment problems with only 780 million labourers in jobs.
However, the work problem is largely confined to rural areas. Jobs in cities are being created quickly as China undergoes a rapid urbanisation.
"China is facing huge employment pressures at present and for the foreseeable future," the Daily Mail quoted Yi Chengji, spokesman for the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security as saying.
"As China's urbanisation quickens, employment pressures from the many surplus rural labourers are getting bigger and bigger.
"Currently there are about 100 million surplus rural workers that need to be transferred (to urban jobs)," he added.