I know about it from personal association with a few people. The first time I had ever heard of a tape worm was in "Home Economics" in Grade 7 or 8. Half the year was sewing, and half the year was cooking. We had a full kitchen in our home ec class, with the biggest kitchen island I'd ever seen, and four stoves.
I remember my teacher too ... forget her name but I can see her standing at the island warning us about the dangers of not cooking pork fully, and telling us this horrific story of someone who had gotten a tapeworm from eating pork chops that weren't properly cooked. She related gruesome details about how sick this woman had gotten, and that she nearly died from it, and when they removed the tapeworm, how big it was.
Most of the class was fairly nauseated by the story ... even worse, that day we were learning how to
|Intestine blocked by tapeworms.|
However, there were several girls I chummed with who were discussing just what the possibility was of getting a tapeworm "of their own" if they ate partially cooked pork every day for a week so they could lose weight. These were not fat girls, either. This is just another reminder of how society's treatment of "thin and beautiful" affects young women.
Honestly, there are some people for whom losing weight is far more important than possibly dying from some self-induced parasitic infestation. I opted out and told them it was the densest thing they'd ever considered, and considering that group of girls, that was going some. They weren't exactly wizards, you know? (...and no, none of them ever did get a tapeworm.)
I can think of a lot of really bad diets - a lot of which I've actually tried over the years, but nothing I can think of grosses me out as much as the tapeworm does. Ugh.
Don't do it; don't think it; don't even consider it. Not unless you really want a trip to the hospital to get rid of it.
You can become infected with tapeworms from almost any uncooked meat from infected animals, and sometimes from infected drinking water. People who are infected can also cause others to be infected by transferring the infection to foods they are preparing. I would think this is probably fairly rare in our society today.