Bóna Enikő 1, Prof. Ferenc Tőr2
1 Semmelweis Egyetem, Magatartástudományi Intézet
2 Semmelweis Egyetem, Magatartástudományi Intézet
Orthorexia nervosa (ON) or in other words, addiction to a proper diet occurs when health food becomes a central driver of life, while hindering other important areas. It is mentioned as a form of disordered eating and also has been shown to correlate with obsessive-compulsive traits in previous literature. However, an alternative way of viewing the phenomenon is that it is a way of coping with modern health worries, therefore its inclusion in the upcoming psychiatric diagnostic manuals is debated.
The aim of this study is to explore whether ON is present in the Hungarian sample of fitness enthusiasts and how it correlates with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder. With qualitative interviews, we also aim to explore the background of health food practices.
Mixed methodology was applied. The quantitative part included a questionnaire asking about demographic data, exercise habits, Orto-11-Hu, Eating Disorder Inventory and Maudsley obsessive-compulsive inventory. The qualitative part was carried out using ethnographic field work and interviews.
Results for Orto-11-hu and three Eating Disorder Inventory subscales (drive for thinness, perfectionism and interpersonal distrust) presented statistically significant correlations. Being female, higher BMI and higher training frequency were shown to be predictors, but no relationship was found between obsessive-compulsive traits and ON. The interviewees presented health preoccupation and purging symptoms due to belief systems related to “clean food”.
The results can be interpreted as a warning that eating disorder specialists should be aware of fitness communities’ vulnerability to ON, due to the desire to lose weight and not because of obsessive-compulsive traits. Also, the imperative to “eat clean” can induce purging that also needs careful attention.
Doctoral school: Mental Health Sciences
Program: Mental Health Sciences
Supervisor: Ferenc Túry
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