Archive for April 18th, 2014

April 18, 2014

Orthorexia Nervosa

Health Food Junkies

Orthorexia [awr-thuh-rek-see-uhnervosa [nur-voh-suh] is a proposed eating disorder characterized by an excessive preoccupation with avoiding foods perceived to be unhealthy. The term ‘orthorexia’ derives from the Greek ‘ortho’ (‘right’ or ‘correct’), and ‘orexis’ (‘appetite’), literally meaning ‘correct appetite.’ It was introduced in 1997 by primary care physician Steven Bratman, who claims that in extreme cases, it can lead to severe malnutrition or even death. Even in less severe cases, the attempt to follow a diet that cannot provide adequate nourishment is said to lower self-esteem as the orthorexics blame themselves rather than their diets for their constant hunger and the resulting cravings for forbidden foods.

In 2009, Ursula Philpot, chair of the British Dietetic Association and senior lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University, described people with orthorexia nervosa to ‘The Guardian’ as being ‘solely concerned with the quality of the food they put in their bodies, refining and restricting their diets according to their personal understanding of which foods are truly ‘pure.” This differs from other eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, whereby people focus on the quantity of food eaten.

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