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Eat Weight Disord. 2004 Jun;9(2):151-7.

Orthorexia nervosa: a preliminary study with a proposal for diagnosis and an attempt to measure the dimension of the phenomenon.

Author information

  • 1Istituto di Scienza dell'Alimentazione, Universit√† degli Studi di Roma La Sapienza, Italy. lorenzomaria.donini@uniroma1.it

Abstract

AIM:

To propose a diagnostic proceeding and to try to verify the prevalence of orthorexia nervosa (ON), an eating disorder defined as "a maniacal obsession for healthy foods".

MATERIALS AND METHODS:

404 subjects were enrolled. Diagnosis of ON was based on both the presence of a disorder with obsessive-compulsive personality features and an exaggerated healthy eating behaviour pattern.

RESULTS:

Of the 404 subjects examined, 28 were found to suffer from ON (prevalence of 6.9%). The analysis of the physiological characteristics, the social-cultural and the psychological behaviour that characterises subjects suffering from ON shows a higher prevalence in men and in those with a lower level of education. The orthorexic subjects attribute characteristics that show their specific "feelings" towards food ("dangerous" to describe a conserved product, "artificial" for industrially produced products, "healthy" for biological produce) and demonstrate a strong or uncontrollable desire to eat when feeling nervous, excited, happy or guilty.

PMID:
15330084
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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