Orthorexia nervosa behavior in a sample of Brazilian dietitians assessed by the Portuguese version of ORTO-15.Eat Weight Disord. 2012 Mar; 17(1):e29-35.EW
Orthorexia nervosa (ON) is described as an obsessive pathological behavior characterized by a strong preoccupation with healthy eating and the avoidance of foods or ingredients considered unhealthy by the subject. Although it is still not officially recognized as an eating disorder, previous studies have discussed its frequency in some groups and a fifteen-question test (ORTO-15) was developed elsewhere to assess ON behavior.
The present study aimed to evaluate ON behavior in a sample of Brazilian dietitians after testing the psychometric properties of the Portuguese version of ORTO-15.
A total of 392 dietitians answered an online version of the test. The answers were analyzed regarding ON tendency, according with the scoring grid proposed by its authors. Exploratory factor analysis was performed and internal consistency was assessed.
It was found that three questions of the test presented loadings lower than 0.5. The 12 remaining question formed 3 factors with internal consistency of -0.51, 0.63 and 0.47. The answers of the participants to these questions revealed a tendency to orthorexic behavior, mainly regarding aspects such as: making food choices conditioned by worry about health status, evaluating food rather from nutritional quality than from its taste, believing that consuming healthy food may improve appearance, discrediting the influence of mood on eating behavior and banning food choices considered by them as eating transgressions.
There is no evidence of the validity and reliability of the ORTO-15 with the initial psychometric evaluation performed. Further analyses are needed. Nevertheless, it was possible to observe a high frequency of orthorexic behavior among the studied Brazilian dietitians. However, additional studies are needed to completely understand dietitians behavior toward ON.