Orthorexia: When Healthy Eating Becomes a Disorder

healthy eating

When Healthy Eating Becomes a Disorder

Healthy eating can lead to major improvements in health and well-being. However, for some people, become obsessive and develop an eating disorder due to their focus on healthy eating which is known as orthorexia.

What is orthorexia?

Orthorexia, also known as orthorexia nervosa, is an eating disorder that involves an unhealthy obsession with healthy eating. Unlike other eating disorders, orthorexia mostly revolves around food quality, not quantity. People with orthorexia are rarely focused on losing weight. They have an extreme fixation with the “purity” of their foods, as well as are obsessed with the benefits of healthy eating. This disorder is yet to defined officially as an eating disorder.

American physician Steve Bratman first coined the term “orthorexia” in 1997. The term is derived from “orthos,” which is Greek for “right.”

What causes orthorexia?

We may begin a diet with an intention to improve our health, but when this focus becomes  extreme, then it turns into a disorder. The research done on this disorder is not extensive but are coming up with risk factors now.

Few risk factors can be high anxiety or urge for perfectionism or need to control. Individuals who focus on health for their career may have a higher risk of developing orthorexia. They include healthcare workers, opera singers, ballet dancers, symphony orchestra musicians, and athletes.

The other factors which should be taken into consideration should be age, gender, education level, and socioeconomic status, but more research is needed before conclusions can be reached