Prevalence of orthorexia nervosa among ashtanga yoga practitioners: a pilot study

Abstract

Purpose

Orthorexia nervosa (ON, i.e., fixation on righteous eating) is a poorly defined disordered eating behavior that results from a pathological obsession with food, its purported nutritional value, composition, origin, etc.

Methods

We investigated the prevalence of ON in a local ashtanga yoga community, by using a validated questionnaire (ORTO-15) that sets a threshold of ON diagnosis at ≤40.

Results

Among the 136 respondents, the mean ORTO-15 score (which was normally distributed) was 35.27 ± 3.69, i.e., 86 % of respondents had an ORTO-15 score lower than 40 and no significant association with age or BMI was recorded. When we analyzed the differential distribution of orthorexia in our cohort, we recorded an association of ORTO-15 score and vegetarianism, i.e., the ORTO-15 score was lower among vegetarians.

Conclusions

The results of this pilot study should suggest ashtanga yoga teachers to avoid excessive reference to a healthy diet, which is natural component of yoga practice.

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Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

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Correspondence to Francesco Visioli.

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Herranz Valera, J., Acuña Ruiz, P., Romero Valdespino, B. et al. Prevalence of orthorexia nervosa among ashtanga yoga practitioners: a pilot study. Eat Weight Disord 19, 469–472 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40519-014-0131-6

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Keywords

  • Orthorexia nervosa
  • Yoga
  • Eating disorders
  • Physical activity
  • Vegetarianism