Orthorexia Nervosa: A Review of the Literature

Issues Ment Health Nurs. 2017 Dec;38(12):980-988. doi: 10.1080/01612840.2017.1371816.


Background: The phenomenon of orthorexia nervosa (ON) has been noted by clinicians since 1996 and described in the scientific literature, and yet there is no formal recognition of ON as a psychiatric diagnosis.

Objective: Review the latest available literature regarding diagnoses similarities, presentation uniqueness, assessment/assessment tools, and suggested treatments of ON.

Method/design: A literature search of four databases focusing on articles published between 2000 and 2016 was conducted to evaluate the status of the literature on Orthorexia.

Results: Among the 15 articles selected for this review, similarities with other psychiatric disorders emerged, confusion about use of assessment tools existed, and the lack of evidence based treatments for ON was pronounced.

Conclusion: More research is needed to determine the prevalence of pathologically unhealthy, obsessive, "self-defined healthy," eating behaviors, and to determine if ON is a unique eating disorder or just a subset of another disorder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / psychology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / therapy
  • Health Behavior
  • Humans