• The prevalence of orthorexia nervosa in Lebanese university students and the relationship between orthorexia nervosa and body image, body weight and physical activity.

      Fallows, Stephen; Al Kattan, Malika (University of Chester, 2016-09)
      Background: Orthorexia is a behavioral disorder characterized by healthy food fixation (Bratman & Knight, 2000). Researchers suggest that the difference between eating disorders and orthorexia is that orthorexics are more concerned about their health status and may not be concerned about their body image or body weight (Ramaciotti et al.,2011) The aim of this study is to investigate the prevalence of orthorexia nervosa in Lebanese university students and to study the associations between orthorexia nervosa and body image, body weight and physical activity. Methods: A cross sectional study was conducted on 320 randomly selected students from the Lebanese University, branch III. Data was collected through a questionnaire that includes three sections: the ORTO-15 questionnaire, Multidimensional body self relations questionnaire (MBSRQ) and a personal history section. A comparative study was conducted to compare MBSRQ scores between orthorexics and non orthorexics. A second comparative study was conducted to compare ORTO-15 and MBSRQ scores in males and females with orthorexia. A correlation study was conducted to test the associations between ORTO-15 and the MBSRQ scores in females and males with orthorexic behaviours. Results: The prevalence of orthorexia in Lebanese university students is 65.31%. The comparative study results show a significant difference between orthorexics and non orthorexics for overweight preoccupation and self classified weight. There is no significant difference between orthorexics and non orthorexics for body area satisfaction, appearance evaluation and appearance orientation scales. In females, lower ORTO-15 scores - stronger orthorexia- are associated with higher appearance orientation, health evaluation, fitness evaluation and orientation, overweight preoccupation and body area satisfaction. As for males, lower ORTO-15 scores are associated with higher health evaluation and fitness orientation. Also, in males, here is no correlation between ORTO-15 scores and the remaining MBSRQ scales. Conclusion: This study findings show that orthorexic students are more concerned about their body weight and diet than those with normal eating behaviours. There is no difference between orthorexics and non orthorexics in appearances scales. In females, orthorexia is associated with higher fitness satisfaction and orientation. Also, in females, orthorexia is associated with disordered eating behaviours symptoms such as controlled eating, fat anxiety, weight control and dieting.