Objective: Orthorexia, from the Greek words orthos (straight, proper) and orexis (appetite), is a newly conceptualized disorder characterized by distorted eating habits and cognitions concerning supposedly healthy nutrition. In this article we present preliminary results of a wider research aimed to investigate the diffusion of Orthorexia in the general population and to highlight its characteristics and particularly the relationship with Eating Disorder and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.
Method: One-hundred and seventy seven adult subjects from the general population, were administered the ORTO-15 test, a selfadministered questionnaire specifically designed to assess orthorexic symptomatology; note that statistical analyses were repeated twice, referring to different diagnostic thresholds (40/35).
Results: Orthorexia had a 57.6% prevalence in our sample, using the 40-point threshold, with a female/male ratio 2:1; the figure was sensibly lower with the 35-point threshold (21%).
Conclusion: The results of this study highlight the diffusion of Orthorexia which may constitute an important risk factor for mental and physical health, but also the opportunity of more specific diagnostic instruments, so to facilitate a thorough understanding of this disorder.